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ONFESSIONAL 




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ROMANISM UNMASKED! 

The plates of this great book have been twice 
mysteriously burned. 

Endorsed by the leading Reviews, Magazines, and the 
Protestant Press oj the -world. 

Its Revelations are terrible Indictments 
of Popery. 

THE GREAT BOOK OF THE CENTURY! 

Fifty Years in the 
Church of Rome, 

By FATHER CHINIQUY. 

INTRIGUES, IMPOSTURES, AND CRIMINAL 

INTRIGUES OF PRIESTS. 

ROME AND THE ASSASSINATION OF LINCOLN. 

TRULY VIVID, FASCINATING, AND TRAGIC. 

NO HISTORY LIKE IT SINCE LUTHER. 

CANNOT BE REFUTED. 



There is no book upon the Romish controversy so com- 
prehensive as this. It is a complete picture of the inner 
working's, aims and objects of Popery. It is from the ex- 
perience of a living witness, and challenges contradiction. 
It is a large but very valuable work, and is fast becoming a 
standard authority. No lover of his country should re- 
in;! in ignorant of its contents. 

A handsome volume of 832 pages, printed on clear type 

on fine tinted paper. It is bound in strong cloth, 

marbled edges, and gilt stamp on side and 

back. Contains two portraits (one 

representing him in priestly 

robes) of the venerable 

Author. 

Sent to any address on receipt of price, $2.25. 



ADAM CRAIG. Publisher, 
77 to 79 Jackson St., Chicago. 



Bristling with Facts. A Timely 
and Important Work. 



Cloth i6mo, heavy paper, 126 pages, with por- 
trait of the author, 75 cents ; 
Paper cover, 40 cents. 
Sent to any address on receipt of price. 



ROMANISM, 

THE DANGER AHEAD 

By A. J. GROVER. 



The writer has given to the people of America 
statements of facts and figures which they will 
do well to reflect upon. " Romanism has votes 
to be cast as a unit. These votes are necessary 
in national elections, and in most local elections, 
to party success; whichever party will promise 
to do most for Romanism, will get them. Here 
lies the danger. As in the days when slavery 
ruled, everybody interested in the success of a 
party caters to Romanism. The national policy 
as to slavery almost cost the life of the republic. 
There is ten times as much danger to our free 
institutions from Romanism now, that there was 
from slavery in 1851." 



ADAM CRAIG, Publisher, 
77 to 79 Jackson St., Chicago. 



f he Priest, "f HE ^oman 



AND 



The Qonfessional 



BY FATHER CHINIQUY. 

AUTHOR OF "FIFTY YEARS IN THE CHURCH OF ROME," ETC. 




THIRTY-FIRST EDITION. 



CHICAGO: 

ADAM CRAIG, 77~79 JACKSON STREET. 

1887. 



Copyright, 1880, by 
Rev. Charles Chiniou^. 



cepBps. 



Page. 

Biographical 5 

Declaration . 16 

Preface . 19 

-CHAPTER I. 

The Struggle before the Surrender of Womanly Self- 
respect in the Confessional ...... 21 

CHAPTER II. 

Auricular Confession a deep Pit of Perdition for the 

Priest -... 59 

CHAPTER III. 

The Confessional is the Modem Sodom ... 77 

CHAPTER IV. 

How the Vow of Celibacy of the Priests is made easy by 

Auricular Confession 87 

CHAPTER V. 

The highly-educated and refined Woman in the Confes- 
sional — What becomes of her after unconditional 
surrender — Her irreparable Ruin .... 98 



4: CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER VI. 

Auricular Confession destroys all the Sacred Ties of Mar- 
riage and Human Society 117 

CHAPTER VII. 

Should Auricular Confession be tolerated among Civilized 

Nations? . . 160 

CHAPTER VIII. 
Does Auricular Confession bring Peace to the Soul? . 17? 

CHAPTER IX. 

The Dogma of Auricular Confession a Sacrilegious Im- 
posture , 209 

CHAPTER X. 

God compels the" Church of Rome to confess the Abomi- 
nations of Auricular Confession .... 242 

CHAPTER XI. 
Auricular Confession in Australia, America, and France 260 

CHAPTER XII. 

A Chapter for the Consideration of Legislators, Hus- 
bands, and Fathers — Some of the matters on which 
the Priest of Rome must question his Penitents . 290 



BIOGRAPHICAL 



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important ewN£i* DecajaEjwjs 

ESTABLISHING THE HIGH CHARACTER AND STANDING OF 
PASTOR CHINIQUY WHEN IN THE CHURCH OP ROME. 



ME. Chiniquy is one of the most conspicuous 
champions of Protestantism of the present 
day. He was invited to Scotland by her leading 
ecclesiastics to take part in the Tercentenary of the 
Reformation, and to England in later years, when 
all her leading Protestants stood forth to honor 
the Emperor William of Germany and Prince 
Bismarck for their noble resistance to Papal pre- 
tensions to authority in Germany. He then, in 
1874, addressed the great gathering in Exeter Hall r 
over which Lord Russell presided ; and afterwards, 
ibr six months, lectured throughout England on 



6 BIOGRAPHICAL. 

the invitation of Ministers of every Evangelical 
Denomination. 

Of such a man with such a history of struggles,, 
services and success, the Protestants all over the 
world need not be ashamed. 

During the last two years he has lectured and, 
preached to crowded houses in Australia, receiving 
from the clergy and people of that country many 
testimonials of their esteem and regard for his 
valuable services in the cause of Protestantism. 

It is well known that Father Chiniquy rose into 
general notoriety in Canada as an Apostle of Tem- 
perance. But long before this — when a parish 
priest, and even when a student— he was held in 
high repute. The sketch of his early life is as fol- 
lows : Born at Kamouraska, Canada, July 30, 
1809. His father's name, Charles Chiniquy, his 
mother's, Peine Perrault, both natives of Quebec. 
His father died in 1821 ; his mother in 1830. After 
his father's death, a rich uncle, by name Amable 
Dionne, a member of the upper House of Parlia- 
ment in Canada, who had married his mother's 
sister, took him in charge, and sent him to the 
College of St. Nicholet, With which he was con- 
nected from 1822 to 1833, attaining high honors as 
a linguist and mathematician. His moral conduct 
got him the name among his fellow-students of* 



BIOGRAPHICAL. T , 

St. Louis Gonzaque de Nicholet. He was ordained; 
a priest in 1833, in the Cathedral of Quebec, hj 
Bishop Sinaie, and began his ministry at St.: 
Charles, on the river Berger, Canada. After this 
he was Chaplain to the Marine Hospital, and there 
studied under Dr. Douglas the effects of alcohol 
on the human system. He became convinced that 
it was poisonous, and its general use criminal. He 
wrote to Father Matthew, of Ireland, and soor 
after started the Temperance Crusade among the 
Roman Catholics of Canada. He began at Beau- 
port, where he was parish priest. There were them 
seven taverns or hotels, but no school. In two- 
years he had seven schools, and not a single tavern: 
in the parish. A Temperance Column was erected 
in that town to commemorate his achievements in 
this good work. He was soon transferred to the 
larger parish of Kamouraska ; but he shortly gave 
up his parish duties and transferred his headquar- 
ters to Montreal, to devote his whole time to the 
cause of temperance, — from 1846 to 1851. As the 
result, all the distilleries were closed except two in 
the whole Province. 

These noble efforts were publicly acknowledged. 
We refer to four distinct acts of recognition among 
many. The first is the Address of the Indepen- 
dent Order of Rechabites of Canada, and dated 



8 BIOGRAPHICAL. 

Montreal, 31st August, 1848, with Mr. Chiniquy 's 
reply. It is creditable to the Protestants of Lower 
Canada that they so honored a priest of the Church 
of Rome when doing a noble work for the general 
good of the country. Both documents are worthy 
of the cause. Instead of taking glory to himself 
for this success, Mr. Chiniquy uses these words in 
the course of his reply: u Persuaded that this 
success is solely the work of God — to Him be all 
the glory ! ' ' The great city of Montreal was 
moved to gratitude, and a Gold Medal was pre- 
sented to him in the name of the city, with these 
words on one side — 

To Father Chiniquy, 

Apostle of Temperance, 

Canada. 

And on the other — 

Honor to his Virtues, 
Zeal and Patriotism. 

The Canadian Parliament moved also in his 
lionor, and voted to him an Address and Five 
Hundred Pounds as a public token of the gratitude 
of a whole people. 

The fame of his labors in the cause of Temper- 
ance reached the Pope, and through an aspiring 
priest who visited Pome about that period, the 
Pope's Blessing was sent to Mr. Chiniquy, as tes- 



BIOGRAPHICAL. \) 

tified by the following letter. The translations are 
verbatim, no freedom being taken to render them 
into more idiomatic English : — 

[translation] 

"Home, 10th August, 1850. 
" Sir, and very Dear Friend : 

"It is only Monday, the 12th, that it has been 
given me to have a private audience with the Sov- 
ereign Pontiff. I have taken the opportunity to 
present to him your book, with your letter, which 
he has received — I do not say with that goodness 
which is so eminently characteristic — but with all 
special marks of satisfaction and of approbation, 
while charging me to state to you that He accords 
his Apostolic Benediction to you and to the holy 
work of Temperance which you preach. 

"I esteem myself happy to have had to offer 
on your behalf to the Vicar of Jesus Christ, a book 
which, after it had done so much good to my coun- 
trymen, has been able to draw from his venerable 
mouth such solemn words of approbation of the 
Temperance Society, and of blessing on those who 
are its apostles ; and it is also for my heart a very 
sweet pleasure to transmit them to you. 
" Your friend, 

" Charles T. Baillargeon, 

"Priest." 

Following this we give the general circular fur- 
nished to him by the Bishop of Montreal, in which 
he is designated Apostle of Temperance. 
[translation.] 
Ignatius Bourget. 
" By the divine mercy and grace of the Holy 
Apostolic See, Bishop of Marianopolis (Montreal). 



10 BIOGRAPHICAL. 

" To all who would inspect the present Letter 
we make known and testify : — That the venerable 
Charles Chiniquy, Apostle of Temperance, Priest 
of our Diocese, is very well known to us, and re- 
gard him as proved to lead a praiseworthy life and 
one agreeable to his ecclesiastical profession — 
through the tender mercies of our God under no 
ecclesiastical censures, at least which have come to 
our knowledge, by which he might be restricted. 
We entreat each and all Archbishops, Bishops and 
other dignitaries of the Church, to whom it may 
happen that he may go, that they for the love of 
Christ entertain him kindly and courteously, and 
as often as they may be asked by him, permit him 
to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and 
exercise other ecclesiastical privileges and works 
of piety. We showing ourselves ready for similar 
and greater things. In confidence of which we 
have ordered the present general Letter to be pre- 
pared under our sign and seal, and with the sub- 
scription of the secretary of our Episcopate at 
Marianople, in our Palace of the Blessed James, 
in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty, 
on the sixth day of the month of June. 

"f Ignatius, 

' ' Bishop of Marianopolis. 
" By order of the most illustrious and most rev- 
erend Bishop of Marianopolis, D. D. 

"J. O. Pare, Canon, 

" Secretary '." 

His high position was now universally acknowl- 
edged, and he was chosen by the dignitaries of the 
Church of Rome to lead a new and important 
movement. It was to take possession of the Val- 
ley of the Mississippi, and form a new Roman. 



BIOGRAPHICAL. 11 

Catholic colony in the very centre of the Unitec* 
States. The Roman Catholic Bishop of Chicago^ 
Bishop Vandevelt, came to Canada to confer with 
him on the subject. The proposal was to transfer 
thousands of French Canadians, zealous Roman 
Catholics, to this new territory, and Father Chini- 
quy was to conduct the enterprise and be the new 
champion of Rome. He accepted the offer. He 
went and surveyed the land, selected the territory,, 
and returning to Canada took over to the new 
colony a first batch of five thousand emigrants, all 
zealous for the Church in this new movement. 

Before finally taking up his quarters in St. Anne, 
Kankakee, State of Illinois, the seat of the chosen 
colony, he requested his official dismission from the 
diocese of Montreal, with which he had been con- 
nected for the five previous years. We give the 
answer in full, to show his standing when he left 
Canada for his new field. 

[translation.] 

''Montreal, 13th October, 1851. 
" Sir: — You ask me the permission to leave the 
diocese to go to offer your services to the Mo n seig- 
neur of Chicago. As you belong to the diocese of 
Quebec, I believe that it appertains to Monseig- 
neur, the Archbishop, to give you the exeat which 
you ask. For me, 1 cannot but thank you for your 
labors among us; and I wish you in return the 
most abundant blessings of Heaven. You shall 



12 BIOGRAPHICAL. 

ever be in my remembrance and in my heart ; and 
I hope the Divine Providence will permit me at a 
future time to testify to you all the gratitude that 
I feel within me. Meanwhile, 
u I remain, dear sir, 

u Your very humble and obedient servant, 
" f Ignatius, 

' ' Bishop of Montreal. 
"Mr. Chiniquy, Priest." 

Thus he left Canada in the highest repute with 
the hierarchy of Pome. But a few years passed 
when the colony had expanded to the occupation 
of forty square miles, and thousands were still 
pouring in, not only from Canada, but from the 
Poman Catholic population of Europe. But in an 
■evil day for Pome, Bishop Yandevelt was removed, 
and an Irish Bishop, O'Keagan, took his place, 
and at once began to obstruct and oppress the 
French settlers. Here we state to Americans 
what is well known in Canada, that the French and 
Irish Poman Catholics seldom agree — there are 
violent feuds between them. The violence, oppres- 
sion and injustice of the Irish Bishop O'Peagan 
drove Father Chiniquy into resistance and to ap- 
peals to the outside Poman Catholic world for 
redress and deliverance from oppression. It came 
even to the Pope, and he sent Cardinal Bedeni to 
Ohicago to investigate the dispute. He declared 
O'Peagan to be in the wrong, and he was removed. 



BIOGRAPHICAL. IS 

and Bishop Smith, of Iowa, took O'Reagan's place. 
While this storm was raging, God was opening the 
eyes of Father Chiniquy more and more to the real 
apostacy of the modern Papal Church from the old 
original Christian Church of Rome. 

The hour of his deliverance was approaching, 
and God had chosen the field for the first fierce en- 
counter under the liberty of the Stars and Stripes 
of the Republic of America. Anywhere else he 
would most likely be crushed to earth, but here he 
found freedom, and a noble-hearted advocate, when 
fiercely prosecuted, in the person of "honest" 
Abraham Lincoln, afterwards America's greatest 
President since the days of Washington. 

To show that up to the time of his severance 
from Rome he bore the highest character, the fol- 
lowing letter, from Bishop Baillargeon, of so late 
a date as 9th May, 1856, five years after he left 
Canada, amply proves. 

[translation.] 
"Archbishopric of Quebec, 9th May, 1856. 

" Miss : — I send you, for Mr. Chiniquy, an or- 
nament [chasuble], with the necessary linen from 
which to make a cassock ; and a chalice ; the whole 
indifferently packed, as, I suppose, you will find a 
place for all in your trunk. And I pray God to 
bless you, and conduct you happily in your journey. 
" Your devoted servant, C. J., Bishop of Tloa." 

" To Miss Caroline Descormers, 
4 ' Of the Convent of the Ursulines of Three Rivers. ' ? 



14 ^rOORAPHl'CAL. 

The Bishop senits by a nun of the Ursuline Con- 
vent of Three Rivers a present to Mr. Chiniquy, 
consisting of a chasuble, or the embroidered gar- 
ment with a cross on the back, and a pillar in front, 
worn by priests ; materials to make a cassock, and 
a chalice to perform Mass, as proofs of his highest 
confidence and esteem. Well would it be for the 
honor of the Church of Rome if she had many 
priests like him in the ranks of her clergy. 

We now give the declaration of Bishop O'Rea- 
gan respecting Mr. Chiniquy' s character, as sworn 
to by the four Roman Catholics whose names are 
appended. This written reply was given by Bishop 
O' Reagan on the 27th August, 1856, to the depu- 
tation who waited on him. This has been pub- 
lished all over Canada, in French and English, in 
reply to certain accusations of Vicar-General Bru- 
yere : — 

" 1st. I suspended Mr. Chiniquy on the 19th of 
this month. 

" 2nd. If Mr. Chiniquy has said Mass since, as 
you say, he is irregular ; and the Pope alone can 
restore him in his ecclesiastic and sacerdotal func- 
tions. 

u 3rd. I take him away from St. Anne, despite 
his prayers and yours, because he he has not been 
willing to live in peace and in friendship with the 
Reverends M. L. and M. L., although I admit they 
were two bad Priests, whom I have been forced to 
expel from my diocese. 



BIOGRAPHICAL. 15 

" 4th. My second reason for taking Mr. Chini- 
quy away from St. Anne, to send him in his new- 
mission, south of Illinois, is to stop the lawsuit 
Mr. Spink has instituted against him ; though I 
cannot warrant that the law suit will be stopped for 
that. 

" 5th. Mr. Chiniquy is one of the best Priests 
of my diocese, and I do not want to deprive my- 
self of his services ; and no accusations against the 
morals of that gentlemen have bee.n proved before 
me. 

" 6th. Mr. Chiniquy has demanded an inquest, 
to prove his innocence of certain accusations made 
against him, and has asked me the names of his 
accusers to confound them ; and I have refused it 
to him. 

"7th. Tell Mr. Chiniquy to come and meet 
me — to prepare himself for his new mission, and I 
will give him the letters he needs, to go and labor 
there. 

" Then we withdrew and presented the foregoing 
letter to Father Chiniquy. 

Frs. Bechard, 
"J. B. L. LemoinEj. 
" Basilique Allair, 
" Leon Mailloux." 

Nothing more can be wanted to establish the 
moral reputation of Mr. Chiniquy, so long as he 
remained in the Church of Rome. 




TO HIS LORDSHIP BOURGET, BISHOP OP MONTREAL. 



" Sir,— 

" Since God lias, in His infinite mercy, been 
pleased to show us the errors of Rome, and has 
given us strength to abandon them to follow Christ, 
we deem it our duty to say a word on the abomina- 
tions of the confessional. You well know that 
these abominations are of such a nature that it is 
impossible for a woman to speak of them without 
a blush. How is it that among civilized, Christian 
men, one has so far forgotten the rule of common 
decency, as to force women to reveal to unmarried 
men, under the pains of eternal damnation, their 
most secret thoughts, their most sinful desires, and 
their most private actions ? 

" How, unless there be a brazen mask on your 
priest's face, dare they go out into the world hav- 
ing heard the tales of misery which cannot but 



BIOGRAPHICAL. 17 

defile the hearer, and which the woman cannot re- 
late without having laid aside modesty, and all 
sense of shame ? The harm would not be so great 
should the Church allow no one but the woman to 
accuse herself. But what shall we say of the 
abominable questions that are put to them and 
which they must answer ? 

" Here, the laws of common decency strictly for- 
bid us to enter into details. Suffice it to say, were 
husbands cognizant of one-tenth of what is going 
on between the confessor and their wives, they 
would rather see them dead than degraded to such 
a degree. 

' ' As for us, daughters and wives of Montreal 
who have known by experience the filth of the 
confessional, we cannot sufficiently bless God for 
having shown us the error of our ways in teaching 
us that it is not at the feet of a man as weak and 
as sinful as ourselves, but at the feet of Christ 
alone, that we must seek salvation." 

Julien Herbert, Marie Rogers, 

J. Kochon. Louise Picard, 

Francoise Diringer, Eugenie Martin, 
And forty-three others. 




P^EF^CE. 



EZEKIEL. 
Chapter VIII. 

1. And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, 
in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house, and the 
elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord God 
fell there upon me. 

2. Then I beheld, and lo, a likeness as the appearance of 
fire ; from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire ; 
and from his loins even upward, as the appearance of bright- 
ness, as the color of amber. 

3. And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me by 
a lock of mine head ; and the spirit lifted me up between the 
earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to 
Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward 
the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, wh^h 
provoketh to jealousy. 

4. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, 
according to the vision that I saw in the plain. 

5. II Then said he unto me, Son of man, lift up thine eyes 
now the way toward the north. So I lifted up mine eyes the 
way toward the north; and behold, northward, at the gate of 
the altar, this imago of jealousy in the entry. 

6. He said furthermore unto me; Son of man, seest thou 
what they do? — even the great abominations that the house of 
Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanc- 
tuary? but turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater 
abominations. 

7. IF And he brought me to the door of the court; and 
when I looked, behold, a hole in the wall. 

8. Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: 
and when I had digged in the wall, behold, a door. 

9. And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked 
abominations that they do here. 



20 PREFACE. 



10. So I went in and saw; and, behold, every form of 
creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the 
house of Israel, portrayed upon the wall round about. 

11. And there stood before them seventy men of the an- 
cients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood 
Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in 
his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up. 

12. Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what 
the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man 
in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The Lord seeth, 
us not; the Lord hath forsaken the earth. 

13. ^T He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou 
shalt see greater abominations that they do. 

14. Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the 
Lord's house which was toward the north; and, behold, there 
sat women weeping for Tammuz. 

15. If Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, Son of 
man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abomina- 
tions than these. 

16. And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord's 
house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord, 
between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty 
men, with their backs towards the temple of the Lord, and 
their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun 
toward the east. 

17. U Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, Son 
of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah, that they 
commit the abominations which they commit here? for they 
have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke 
me to anger; and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. 

18. Therefore will I also deal in fury : mine eye shall not 
spHre, neither will I have pity; and though they cry in min« 
ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them. 



®5? JPripsf, iQp Woman, anb tijp 
CjonfpssionaL 



CHAPTER I. 

THE STRUGGLE BEFORE THE SURRENDER OF WOMANLY 
SELF-RESPECT IN THE CONFESSIONAL. 

THERE are two women who ought to be con- 
stant objects of the compassion of the disci- 
ples of Christ, and for whom daily prayers ought 
to be offered at the mercy-seat— the Brahmin wom- 
an, who, deceived by her priests, burns herself on 
the corpse of her husband to appease the wrath of 
her wooden gods ; and the Roman Catholic woman, 
who, not less deceived by her priests,_ snflers a 
torture far more cruel and ignominious in the con- 



fessional-box, to appease the wrath of her wafer- 



P' 



od. 



For I do not exaggerate when I say, that for 
many noble-hearted, well-educated, high-minded 



22 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

women, to be forced to unveil their hearts before- 
the eyes of a man, to open to him all the most se- 
cret recesses of their souls, all the most sacred 
mysteries of their single or married life, to allow 
'him to put to them questions which the most de- 
praved woman would never consent to hear from 
her vilest seducer, is often more horrible and intol- 
erable than to be tied on burning coals. 

More than once, I have seen women fainting in 
the confessional-box, who told me afterwards, that 
the necessity of speaking to an unmarried man on 
certain things, on which the most common laws of 
decency ought to have for ever sealed their lips,, 
had almost killed them ! Not hundreds, but 
thousands of times, I have heard from the lips of 
dying girls, as well as of married women, the 
awful words; "I am forever lost! All my past 
confessions and communions have been so many 
sacrileges ! I have never dared to answer correctly 
the questions of my confessors ! Shame has sealed 
my lips and damned my soul l" 

How many times I remained as one petrified, by 
the side of a corpse, when these last words having 
hardly escaped the lips of one of my female peni- 
tents, who had been snatched out of my reach by 
the merciless hand of death, before I could give 
her pardon through the deceitful sacramental abso- 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 



9? 



lution ? I then believed, as the dead sinner herself 
had believed, that she^ould not be forgiven except 
by that absolution. 

For there are not only thousands but millions of 
Roman Catholic girls and women whose keen sense 
of modesty and womanly dignity are above all the 
sophisms and diabolical machinations of their 
priests. They never can be persuaded to answer 
"Yes" to certain questions of their confessors. 
They would prefer to be thrown into the flames, 
and burnt to ashes with the Brahmin widows, 
rather than allow the eyes of a man to pry into the 
sacred sanctuary of their souls. Though some- 
times guilty before God, and under the impression 
that their sins will never be forgiven if not con- 
fessed, the laws of decency are stronger in their 
hearts than the laws of their cruel and perfidious 
Church. No consideration, not even the fear of 
eternal damnation, can persuade them to declare to/ 
a sinful man, sins which God alone has the right 
to know, for He alone can blot them out with the 
blood of His Son, shed on the cross. 

But what a wretched life must that be of those 
exceptional noble souls, which Rome keeps in the 
dark dungeons of her superstition ? They read in 
all their books, and hear from all their pulpits, that 
if they conceal a single sin from their confessors, 



24 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

they are forever lost ! But, being absolutely un- 
able to trample under their feet the laws of self- 
respect and decency, which God Himself has im- 
pressed in their souls, they live in constant dread 
of eternal damnation. No human words can tell 
their desolation and distress, when at the feet of 
their confessors, they find themselves under the 
horrible necessity of speaking of things, on which 
they would prefer to suffer the most cruel death 
rather than to open their lips, or to be forever 
damned if they do not degrade themselves forever 
in their own eyes, by speaking on matters which a 

/^respectable woman will never reveal to her own 

^mother, much less to a man ! 

I have known only too many of these noble- 
hearted women, who, when alone with God, in a 
real agony of desolation and with burning tears, 
had asked Him to grant them what they considered 
the greatest favor, which was, to lose so much of 
their self-respect as to be enabled to speak of those 
unmentionable things, just as their confessors 
wanted them to speak ; and, hoping that their pe- 
tition had been granted, they went again to the 
confessional-box, determined to unveil their shame 
before the eyes of that inexorable man. But when 
the moment had come for the self-immolation, their 
courage failed, their knees trembled, their lips be- 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 25 

came pale as death, cold sweat poured from all 
their pores! The voice of modesty and womanly 
self-respect was speaking louder than the voice of 
their false religion. They had to go out of the 
confessional-box unpardoned — nay, with the burden 
of a new sacrilege on their conscience. 

Oh ! how heavy is the yoke of Rome — how bit- 
ter is human life — how cheerless is the mystery of 
the cross to those deluded and perishing souls ! 
How gladly they would rush into the blazing piles 
with the Brahmin women, if they could hope to 
see the end of their unspeakable miseries through 
the momentary tortures which would open to them 
the gates of a better life ! 

I do here publicly challenge the whole Roman 
Catholic priesthood to deny that the greater part of 
their female penitents remain a certain period of 
time — some longer, some shorter — under that most 
distressing state of mind. 

Yes, by far the greater majority of women, at 
first, find it impossible to pull down the sacred 
barriers of self-respect which God Himself has built 
around their hearts, intelligences, and souls, as the 
best safeguard against the snares of this polluted 
world. Those laws of self-respect, by which they 
cannot consent to speak an impure word into the 
ears of a man, and which shut all the avenues of 



26 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

the heart against his unchaste questions, even when 
speaking in the name of God — those laws of self- 
respect are so clearly written in their conscience, 
and they are so well understood by them, to be a 
most Divine gift, that, as I have already said, 
many prefer to run the risk of being forever lost 
by remaining silent. 

It takes many years of the most ingenious (I do 
not hesitate to call it diabolical) efforts on the part 
of the priests to persuade the majority of their 
female petitents to speak on questions, which even 
pagan savages would blush to mention among 
themselves. Some persist in remaining silent on 
those matters during the greater part of their lives, 
and many prefer to throw themselves into the 
hands of their merciful God, and die without sub- 
mitting to the defiling ordeal, even after they have 
felt the poisonous stings of the enemy, rather than 
receive their pardon from a man, who, as they feel, 
would have surely been scandalized by the recital 
of their human frailties. All the priests of Rome 
are aware of this natural disposition of their female 
penitents. There is not a single one — no, not a 
single one of their moral theologians, who does not 
warn the confessors against that stern and general 



determination of the girls and marred women never 
to speak in the confessional on matters which may, 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. Zi 

more or less, deal with sins against the seventh 
commandment. Dens, Liguori, Debreyne, Bailly, 
<fcc, — in a word, all the theologians of Rome — 
own that this is one of the greatest difficulties 
which the confessors have to contend with in the 
confessional-box. 

Not a single Roman Catholic priest will dare to 
deny what I say on this matter ; for they know 
that it would be easy for me to overwhelm them 
with such a crowd of testimonies that their grand 
imposture would forever be unmasked. 

I intend, at some future day, if God spares me- 
and gives me time for it, to make known some of 
the innumerable things which the Roman Catholic 
theologians and moralists have written on this 
question. It will form one of the most curious 
books ever written ; and it will give unanswerable 
evidence of the fact that, instinctively, without 
consulting each other, and with an unanimity which 
is almost marvellous, the Roman Catholic women, 
guided by the honest instincts which God has given 
them, shrink from the snares put before them in 
the confessional-box ; and that everywhere they 
struggle to nerve themselves with a superb u man 
courage, against the torturer who is sent by the 
Pope, to finish their ruin and to make shipwreck 
of their souls. Everywhere woman feels that there- 



28 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

are things which ought never to be told, as then 
are things which ought never to be done, in the 
presence of the God of holiness. She understands 
lhat, to recite the history of certain sins, even of 
sthought, is not less shameful and criminal than to 
/do them ; she hears the voice of God whispering 
into her ears, "Is it not enough that thou hast 
been guilty once, when alone in My presence, with- 
out adding to thine iniquity by allowing that man 
to know what should never have been revealed to 
him ? Do you not feel that you make that man 
your accomplice, the very moment that you throw 
into his heart and soul the mire of your iniquities ? 
<lle is as weak as you are ; he is not less a sinner 
/than yourself; what has tempted you will tempt 
him ; what has made you weak will make him 
weak; what has polluted you will pollute him; 
what has thrown you down into the dust, will throw 
him into the dust. Is it not enough that My eyes 
had to look upon your iniquities ? must My ears, 
to-day, listen to your impure conversation with that 
man ? Were that man as holy as My prophet 
David, may he not fall before the unchaste unveil- 
ing of the new Bathsheba ? Were he as strong as 
Samson, may he not find in you his tempting 
Delilah ? Were he as generous as Peter, may he 
not become a traitor at the maid-servant's voice ? " 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 29 

Perhaps the world has never seen a more terri- 
ble, desperate, solemn struggle than the one which 
is going on in the soul of a poor trembling young 
woman, who, at the feet of that man, has to decide- 
Krhether or not she will open her lips on those 
things which the infallible voice of God, united to 
the no less infallible voice of her womanly honor 
and self-respect, tell her never to reveal to any 
man ! 

The history of that secret, fierce, desperate, and 
deadly struggle has never yet, so far as I know, 
been fully given. It would draw the tears of ad- 
miration and compassion of the whole world, if it 
could be written with its simple, sublime, and ter- 
rible realities. 

How many times have I wept as a child when 
some noble-hearted and intelligent young girl, or 
some respectable married woman, yielding to the 
sophisms with which I, or some other confessor, 
had persuaded them to give up their self-respect, 
and their womanly dignity, to speak with me on 
matters on which a decent woman should never say 
a word with a man. They have told me of their 
invincible repugnance, their horror of such ques- 
tions and answers, and they have asked me to have 
pity on them. Yes ! I have often wept bitterly 
on my degradation, when a priest of Rome ! I 



/ 

30 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

have realized all the strength, the grandeur, and 
the holiness of their motives for being silent on 
these defiling matters, and I could not but admire 
them. It seemed at times that they were speaking 
the language of angels of light ; that I ought to 
fall at their feet, and ask their pardon for having 
spoken to them of questions, on which a man of 
honor ought never to converse with a woman whom 
he respects. 

But alas ! I had soon to reproach myself, and 
regret those short instances of my wavering faith 
in the infallible voice of my Church ; I had soon 
to silence the voice of my conscience, which was 
telling me, "Is it not a shame that you, an un- 
married man, dare to speak on these matters with 
a woman ? Do you not blush to put such ques- 
tions to a young girl ? Where is your self-respect ? 
where is your fear of God ? Do you not promote 
the ruin of that girl by forcing her to speak with 
a man on such matters ? ' ' 

I was compelled by all the Popes, the moral 
theologians, and the Councils, of Rome, to believe 
that this warning voice of my merciful God was the 
voice of Satan ; I had to believe in spite of my own 
conscience and intelligence, that it was good, nay, 
necessary, to put those polluting,' damning ques- 
tions. My infallible Church was mercilessly fore- 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN, AXD CONFESSIONAL. 31 

ing me to oblige those poor, trembling, weeping, 
desolate girls and women, to swim with me and all 
her priests in those waters of Sodom and Gom- 
orrah, under the pretext that their self-will would 
be broken down, their fear of sin and humility in- 
creased, and that they would be purified by our 
absolutions. 

With what supreme distress, disgust, and sur- 
prise, we see, to-day, a great part of the noble 
Episcopal Church of England struck by a plague 
which seems incurable, under the name of Pusey- 
ism, or Ritualism, and bringing again — more or 
less openly — in many places the diabolical and 
filthy auricular confession among the Protestants 
of England, Australia and America. The Episco- 
pal Church is doomed to perish in that dark and 
stinking pool of Popery — auricular confession, if 
she does not find a prompt remedy to stop the 
plague brought by the disguised Jesuits, who are 
at work everywhere, to poison and enslave her too 
unsuspecting daughters and sons. 

In the beginning of my priesthood, I was not a 
little surprised and embarrassed to see a very ac- 
complished and beautiful young lady, whom I used 
to meet almost every week at her father's house, 
entering the box of my confessional. She had 
"been used to confess to another young priest of 



32 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

my acquaintance, and she was always looked upon 
as one of the most pious girls of the city. Though 
pA \she had disguised herself as much as possible, in 
order that I might not know her, I felt sure that I 
was not mistaken — she was the amiable Mary * * 

Not being absolutely certain of the correctness 
of my impressions, I left her entirely under the 
hope that she was a perfect stranger to me. At 
the beginning she could hardly speak ; her voice 
was suffocated by her sobs ; and through the little 
apertures of the thin partition between her and me, 
I saw two streams of big tears trickling down her 
cheeks. 

After much effort, she said : u Dear Father, I 
hope you do not know me, and that you will never 
try to know me. I am a desperately great sinner. 
Oh ! I fear that I am lost ! But if there is still a 
hope for me to be saved, for God's sake, do not re- 
buke me ! Before I begin my confession, allow me 
to ask you not to pollute my ears by questions 
which our confessors are in the habit of putting to 
their female penitents ; I have already been de- 
stroyed by those questions. Before I was seven- 
teen years old, God knows that His angels are not 
more pure than I was ; but the chaplain of the 
Nunnery where my parents had sent me for my 
education, though approaching old age, put to me, 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 3S 

in the confessional, a question which at first I did 
not understand, but, unfortunately, he had put the 
game questions to one of my young class-mates, 
who made fun of them in my presence, and ex- 
plained them to me ; for she understood them too 
well. This first unchaste conversation of my life 
plunged my thoughts into a sea of iniquity, till 
then absolutely unknown to me ; temptations of 
the most humiliating character assailed me for a 
week, day and night ; after which, sins which I 
would blot out with my blood, if it were possible, 
overwhelmed my soul as with a deluge. But the 
joys of the sinner are short. Struck with terror at 
the thought of the judgments of God, after a few- 
weeks of the most deplorable life, I determined to 
give up my sins and reconcile myself to God. Cov- 
ered with shame, and trembling from head to footy. 
I went to confess to my old confessor, whom I re- 
spected as a saint and cherished as a father. It 
seems to me that, with sincere tears of repentance, 
I confessed to him the greatest part of my sins T 
though I concealed one of them, through shame y 
and respect for my spiritual guide. But I did not 
conceal from him that the strange questions he had 
put to me at my last confession, were, with the 
natural corruption of my heart, the principal cause 
of my destruction. 



34 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

" He spoke to me very kindly, encouraged me 
to fight against my bad inclinations, and, at first, 
gave me very kind and good advice. But when I 
thought he had finished speaking, and as I was 
preparing to leave the confessional-box, he put to 
me two new questions of such a polluting character 
that, I fear neither the blood of Christ, nor all the 
fires of hell will ever be able to blot them out from 
any memory. Those questions have achieved my 
ruin ; they have stuck to my mind like two deadly 
arrows ; they are day and night before my imagin- 
ation ; they fill my very arteries and veins with a 
deadly poison. 

" It is true that, at first, they filled me with hor- 
ror and disgust ; but alas ! I soon got so accus- 
tomed to them that they seemed to be incorporated 
with me, and as if becoming a second nature. 
Those thoughts have become a new source of in- 
numerable criminal thoughts, desires and ac- 
tions. 

" A month later, we were obliged by the rules of 
our convent to go and confess ; but by this time, 
I was so completely lost, that I no longer blushed 
at the idea of confessing my shameful sins to a 
man ; it was the very contrary. I had a real, dia- 
bolical pleasure in the thought that I should have 
sl long conversation with my confessor on those 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 35 

matters, and that he would ask me more of his 
strange questions. 

" In fact, when I had told him everything with- 
out a blush, he began to interrogate me, and God 
knows what corrupting things fell from his lips into 
my poor criminal heart ! Every one of his ques- 
tions was thrilling my nerves, and filling me with 
the most shameful sensations. After an hour of 
this criminal tete-a-tete with my old confessor (for it 
was nothing else but a criminal tete-a-tete), I per- 
ceived that he was as depraved as I was myself. 
With some half-covered words, he made a crimi- 
nal proposition, which I accepted with covered 
words also ; and during more than a year, we have 
lived together on the most sinful intimacy. Though 
he was much older than I, I loved him in the most 
foolish way. When the course of my convent in- 
struction was finished, my parents called me back 
to their home. I was really glad of that change 
of residence, for I was beginning to be tired of my 
criminal life. My hope was that, under the direc- 
tion of a better confessor, I should reconcile my- 
self to God and begin a Christian life. 

" Unfortunately for me, my new confessor, who 
was very young, began also his interrogations. He 
soon fell in love with me, and I loved him in a 
most criminal way. I have done with him things 



36 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

which I hope you will never request me to reveal 
to you, for they are too monstrous to be repeated, 
even in the confessional, by a woman to a man. 

" I do not say these things to take away the re- 
sponsibility of my iniquities with this young con- 
fessor, from my shoulders, for I think I have been 
more criminal than he was. It is my firm convic- 
tion that he was a good and holy priest before he 
knew me ; but the questions he put to me, and the 
answers I had to give him, melted his heart — I 
know it — just as boiling lead would melt the ice on 
which it flows. 

" I know this is not such a detailed confession 
as our holy Church requires me to make, but I 
have thought it necessary for me to give you this 
short history of the life of the greatest and most 
miserable sinner who ever asked you to help her to 
come out from the tomb of her iniquities. This is 
the way I have lived these last few years. But last 
Sabbath, God, in His infinite mercy, looked down 
upon me. He inspired you to give us the Prodigal 
Son as a model of true conversion, and as the most 
marvellous proof of the infinite compassion of the 
dear Saviour for the sinner. I have wept day and 
night since that happy day, when I threw myself 
into the arms of my loving merciful Father. Even 
now, I can hardly speak, because my regret for 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN, AND CONFESSIONAL. 37 

mij past iniquities, and my joy that I am allowed 
to bathe the feet of the Saviour with tears, are so 
great that my voice is as choked. 

" You understand that I have forever given up 
my last confessor. I come to ask you to do me the 
favor to receive me among your penitents. Oh ! 
do not reject nor rebuke me, for the dear Saviour's 
sake ! Be not afraid to have at your side such a 
monster of iniquity ! But before going further, I 
have two favors to ask from you. The first is, that 
you will never do anything to ascertain my name ; 
the second is, that you will never put to me any of 
those questions by which so many penitents are lost 
and so many priests forever destroyed. Twice I 
have been lost by those questions. We come to 
our confessors that they may throw upon our guilty 
souls the pure waters which flow from heaven to 
purify us; but instead of that, with their unmen- 
tionable questions, they pour oil on the burning 
tires which are already raging in our poor sinful 
hearts. Oh ! clear father, let me become your pen- 
itent, that you may help me to go and weep with 
Magdalene at the Saviour's feet! Do respect me, 
as He respected that true model of all the sinful,' 
but repenting women ! Did our Saviour put to her 
any question ? did He extort from her the history 
of things which a sinful woman cannot say without 



38 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

forgetting the respect she owes to herself and to 
God ! No ! you told us not long ago, that the 
/only thing our Saviour did, was to look at her tears 
and her love. Well, please do that, and you will 
save me ! ' ' 

I was then a very young priest, and never had 
any words so sublime come to my ears in the con- 
fessional-box. Her tears and her sobs, mingled 
with the frank declaration of the most humiliating 
actions, had made such a profound impression upon 
me that I was, for some time, unable to speak. It 
had come to my mind also that I might be mis- 
taken about her identity, and that perhaps she was- 
not the young lady that I had imagined. I could, 
then, easily grant her first request, which was to 
do nothing by which I could know her. The sec- 
ond part of her prayer was more embarrassing ; 
for the theologians are very positive in ordering the 
confessors to question their penitents, particularly 
those of the female sex, in many circum- 
stances. 

I encouraged her in the best way I could, to pre- 
severe in her good resolutions, by invoking the 
blessed Virgin Mary and St. Philomene, who was, 
then, the Sainte a la mode, just as Marie Alacoque 
is to-day, among the blind slaves of Rome. I told 
her that I would pray and think over the subject of 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 39" 

her second request; and I asked her to come back 
in a week for my answer. 

The very same day, I went to my own confessor, 
the Rev. Mr. Baillargeon, then curate of Quebec, 
and afterwards Archbishop of Canada. I told him 
the singular and unusual request she had made, 
that I should never put to her any ot those ques- 
tions suggested by the theologians, to insure the- 
integrity of the confession. I did not conceal from 
him that I was much inclined to grant her that 
favor ; for I repeated what I had already several 
times told him, that I was supremely disgusted with 
the infamous and polluting questions which the 
theologians forced us to put to our female peni- 
tents. I told him frankly that several old and 
young priests had already come to confess to me; 
and that, with the exception of two, they had told 
me that they could not put those questions and 
hear the answers they elicited, without falling into* 
the most damnable sins. 

My confessor seemed to be much perplexed about 
what he should answer. He asked me to come the 
next day, that he might review some of his theo- 
logical books, in the interval. The next day, I 
took down in writing his answer, which I find in 
my old manuscripts, and I give it here in all its 
sad crudity :— 



10 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

S u Such cases of the destruction of female virtue 
v ^>y the questions of the confessors is an unavoid- 
able evil. It cannot be helped ; for such questions 
are absolutely necessary in the greater part of the 
cases with which we have to deal. Men generally 
confess their sins with so much sincerity that there 
Is -seldom any need for questioning them, except 
■when they are very ignorant. But St. Liguori, as 
well -as our personal observation, tells us that the 
greatest part of girls and women, through a false 
-and criminal shame, very seldom confess the sins 
Shey commit against purity. It requires the utmost 
charity in the confessors to prevent those unfortu- 
nate slaves of their secret passions from making 
sacrilegious confessions and communions. With 
the greatest prudence and zeal he must question 
ihem on those matters, beginning with the smallest 
•■sins, and going, little by little, as much as possible 
hj imperceptible degrees, to the most criminal 
actions. As it seems evident that the penitent re- 
ferred to in your questions of yesterday, is unwill- 
ing to make a full and detailed confession of all her 
iniquities, you cannot promise to absolve her with- 
out assuring yourself by wise and prudent ques- 
tions, that she has confessed everything. 

** You must not be discouraged, when, through 
tfee confessional or any other way, you learn the 



-iHE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 41 

fall of priests into the common frailties of human 
nature with their penitents. Our Saviour knew 
very well that the occasions and the temptations 
w T e have to encounter, in the confessions of girls 
and women, are so numerous, and sometimes so 
irresistible, that many would fall. But He has 
given them the Holy Virgin Mary, who constantly 
asks and obtains their pardon ; He has given them 
the sacrament of penance, where they can receive 
their pardon as often as they ask for it. The vow 
of perfect chastity is a great honor and privilege ; 
but we cannot conceal from ourselves that it puts 
on our shoulders a burden which many cannot 
carry forever. St. Liguori says that we must not 
rebuke the penitent priest who falls only once a 
month ; and some other trustworthy theologians 
are still more charitable/' 

This answer was far from satisfying me. It 
seemed to me composed of soft soap principles. I 
went back with a heavy heart and an anxious mind ; 
and God knows that I made many fervent prayers 
that this girl should never come again to give me 
her sad history. I was hardly twenty-six years old, 
full of youth and life. It seemed to me that the 
stings of a thousand wasps to my ears would not 
do me so much harm as the words of that dear, 
beautiful, accomplished, but lost girl. 



42 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

I do not mean to say that the revelations which 
she made, had, in any way, diminished my es- 
teem and my respect for her. It was just the con- 
trary. Her tears and her sobs, at my feet ; her 
agonizing expressions of shame and regret ; her 
noble words of protest against the disgusting and 
polluting interrogations of the confessors, had 
raised her very high in my mind. My sincere hope 
was that she would have a place in the kingdom of 
Christ with the Samaritan women, Mary Magda- 
lene, and all the sinners who have washed their 
robes in the blood of the Lamb. 

At the appointed day, I was in my confessional, 
listening to the confession of a young man, when I 
saw Miss Mary entering the vestry, and coming 
directly to my confessional-box, where she knelt by 
me. Though she had, still more than at the first 
time, disguised herself behind a long, thick, black 
veil, I could not be mistaken ; she was the very 
same amiable young lady in whose father's house I 
used to pass such pleasant and happy hours. I 
had often listened, with breathless attention, to her 
melodious voice, when she was giving us, accom- 
panied by her piano, some of our beautiful Church 
hymns. Who could then see and hear her without 
almost worshipping her ? The dignity of her steps, 
and her whole mien, when she advanced towards 



THE PKIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 43- 

*ny confessional, entirely betrayed her and de- 
stroyed her incognito. 

Oh ! I would have given every drop of my blood 
in that solemn hour, that I might have been free 
to deal with her just as she had so eloquently re- 
quested me to do — to let her weep and cry at the 
feet of Jesus to her heart's content ; Oh ! if I had 
been free to take her by the hand, and silently 
show her the dying Saviour, that she might have 
bathed His feet with her tears, and spread the oil 
of her love on His head, without my saying any- 
thing else but "Go in peace : thy sins are for- 
given." 

But, there, in that confessional-box, I was not 
the servant of Christ, to follow His divine, saving 
words, and obey the dictates of my honest con- 
science. I was the slave of the Pope ! I had ta 
stifle the cry of my conscience, to ignore the in- 
spirations of my God! There, my conscience had 
no right to speak ; my intelligence was a dead 
thing! The theologians of the Pope, alone, had a 
right to be heard and obeyed ! I was not there to 
save, but to destroy ; for, under the pretext of puri- 
fying, the real mission of the confessor, often, if 
not always, in spite of himself, is to scandalise and 
damn the souls. 

As soon as the young man who was making his. 



44 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

confession at my left hand, had finished, I, without 
noise, turned myself towards her, and said, through 
the little aperture, "Are you ready to begin your 
confession? " 

But she did not answer me. All that I could 
hear was: " Oh, my Jesus, have mercy upon me ! 
I come to wash my soul in Thy blood ; wilt thou 
rebuke me ?" 

During several minutes she raised her hands and 
her eyes to heaven, and wept and prayed. It was 
evident that she had not the least idea that I was 
observing her ; she thought the door of the little 
partition between her and me was shut. But my 
eyes were fixed upon her ; my tears were flowing 
with her tears, and my ardent prayers were going 
to the feet of Jesus with her prayers. I would not 
have interrupted her for any consideration, in this, 
her sublime communion with her merciful Saviour. 

But after a pretty long time, I made a little noise 
with my hand, and putting my lips near the open- 
ing of the partition which was between us, I said 
in a low voice, " Dear sister, are you ready to be- 
gin your confession ? " 

She turned her face a little towards me, and said 
with trembling voice, ' l Yes, dear father, I am ready. ' ' 

But she then stopped again to weep and pray, 
though I could not hear what she said. 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 45- 

After some time of silent prayer, I said, " My 
dear sister, if you are ready, please begin your 
confession." She then said, "My dear father, do 
you remember the prayers which I made to you, 
the other day ? Can you allow me to confess my 
sins without forcing me to forget the respect that 
I owe to myself, to you, and to God, who hears us % 
And can you promise that you will not put to me 
any of those questions which have already done me 
such irreparable injury ? I frankly declare to you 
tli at there are sins in me that I cannot reveal to 
anyone, except to Christ, because He is my God, 
and that He already knows them all. Let me weep 
and cry at His feet : can you not forgive me with- 
out adding to my iniquities by forcing me to say 
things that the tongue of a Christian woman cannot 
reveal to a man? " 

"My dear sister," I answered, "were I free to 
follow the voice of my own feelings I would be only 
too happy to grant your request ; but I am here 
only as the minister of our holy Church, and bound 
to obey her laws. Through her most holy Popes 
and theologians she tells me that I cannot forgive 
your sins, if you do not confess them all, just as 
you have committed them. The Church tells me 
also that you must give the details which may add 
to the malice or change the nature of your sins. I 



46 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

am also sorry to tell you that our most holy theo- 
logians make it a duty of the confessor to question 
the penitent on the sins which he has good reason 
to suspect have been voluntarily or involuntarily 
omitted." 

With a piercing cry, she exclaimed, "Then, 
my God, I am lost — forever lost!" 

This cry fell upon me like a thunderbolt ; but I 
was still more terror-stricken when, looking through 
the aperture, I saw she was fainting ; I heard the 
noise of her body falling upon the floor, and of her 
head striking against the sides of the confessional- 
box. 

Quick as lightning I ran to help her, took her in 
my arms, and called a couple of men who were at 
a little distance, to assist me in laying her on a 
bench. I washed her face with some cold water 
and vinegar. She was as pale as death, but her 
lips were moving, and she was saying something 
which nobody but I could understand — 

"I am lost — lost forever !" 

We took her home to her disconsolate family, 
where, during a month, she lingered between life 
and death. Her two first confessors came to visit 
her ; but having asked every one to go out of the 
room, she politely, but absolutely, requested them 
to go away, and never come again. She asked me 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 47 

to visit her every day, "for," she said, "I have 
only a few more days to live. Help me to prepare 
myself for the solemn hour which will open to me 
the gates of eternity ! ' ' 

Every day I visited her, and I prayed and I wept 
with her. 

Many times, when alone, with tears I requested 
her to finish her confession ; but, with a firmness 
which, then, seemed to be mysterious and inexpli- 
cable, she politely rebuked me. 

One day, when alone with her, I was kneeling 
by the side of her bed to pray, I was unable to 
articulate a single word, because of the inexpress- 
ible anguish of my soul on her account, she asked 
me, " Dear father, why do you weep ?" 

I answered, u How can you put such a question 
to your murderer ! I weep because I have killed 
you, dear friend." 

This answer seemed to trouble her exceedingly. 
She was very weak that day. After she had wept 
and prayed in silence, she said, u do not weep for 
me, but weep for so many priests who destroy their 
penitents in the confessionaTT T~ believe in the 
holiness of the sacrament of penance, since our 
holy Church has established it. But there is, some- 
where, something exceedingly wrong in the con- 
fessional. Twice I have been destroyed, and I 



48 THE PRIEST. WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

know many girls who have also been destroyed by 
the confessional. This is a secret, but will that 
secret be kept forever ? I pity the poor priests the 
day that our fathers will know what becomes of the 
purity of their daughters in the hands of their con 
fessors. Father would surely kill my two last con- 
fessors, if he could know how they hav-e destroyed 
his poor child." 

I could not answer except by weeping. 

We remained silent for a long time ; then she 
said, "It is true that I was not prepared for the 
rebuke you have given me, the other day, in the 
confessional; but you acted conscientiously as a 
good' and honest priest. I know you must be 
bound by certain laws." 

She then pressed my hand with her cold hand 
and said, "Weep not, dear father, because that 
sudden storm has wrecked my too fragile bark. 
This storm was to take me out from the bottomless 
sea of my iniquities to the shore where Jesus was 
waiting to receive and pardon me. The night after 
you brought me, half dead, here, to father's house, 
I had a dream. Oh, no ! it was not a dream, it 
was a reality. My Jesus came to me ; He was 
bleeding ; His crown of thorns was on His head, 
the heavy cross was bruising his -shoulders. He 
said to me, with a voice so sweet that no human 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 49 

tongue can imitate it, " I have seen thy tears, I 
have heard thy cries, and I know thy love for Me: 
thy sins are forgiven; take courage; in a few days 
thou shalt be with me ! " 

She had hardly finished her last word, when she 
fainted; and I feared lest she should die just then, 
when I was alone with her. 

I called the family, who rushed into the room. 
The doctor was sent for. He found her so weak 
that he thought proper to allow only one or two 
persons to remain in the room with me. He re- 
quested \is not to speak at all: "For," said he, "the 
least emotion may kill her instantly; her disease 
is, in all probability, an aneurism of the aorta, 
the bio- vein which brings the blood to the heart: 
when it breaks, slit? will go as quick as lightning/* 

It was nearly ten at \iight when I left the house 
to go and take some rest. But it is not necessary 
to say that I passed a sleepless night. My dear 
Mary was there, pale, dying from the deadly blow 
which I had given her in the confessional. She 
was there, on her bed of death, her heart pierced 
with the dagger which my Church had put into my 
hand ! and instead of rebuking, and cursing me for 
my savage, merciless fanaticism, she was blessing 
me! She was dying from a broken heart, and I 
was not allowed by my Church to give her a sin.- 



50 THE PlilEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

gle word of consolation and hope, for she had not 
made her confession ! I had mercilessly bruised 
that tender plant, and there was nothing in my 
hands to heal the wounds I had made! 

It was very probable that she would die the 
next day, and I was forbidden to show her the 
crown of glory which Jesus has prepared in His 
kingdom for the repenting sinner! 

My desolation was really unspeakable, and I 
think I would have been suffocated and have died 
that night, if the stream of tears which ct instantly 
flowed from my eyes had not been as a balm to 
my distressed heart. 

How dark and long the hours of that night 
seemed to me ! 

Before the dawn of day, I arose to read my theo- 
logians again, and see if I could not find some one 
who would allow me to forgive the sins of that 
dear child, without forcing her to tell me everything 
she had done. But they seemed to me, more than 
ever, unanimously inexorable, and I put them back 
on the shelves of my library with a broken heart. 

At nine A. M. the next day, I was by the bed of 
our dear sick Mary. I cannot sufficiently tell the 
joy I felt when the doctor and the whole family 
said to me, " She is much better;" the rest of last 
night has .wrought a marvellous change indeed.** 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL- 51 

With a really angelic smile she extended her 
hand towards me, that I might press it in mine; 
and she said, " I thought, last evening, that the 
dear Saviour would take me to Him, but He wants 
me, dear father, to give you a little more trouble; 
however, be patient, it cannot be long before the 
solemn hour of the appeal will ring. Will you 
please read me the history of the suffering and 
death of the beloved Saviour, which you read me 
the other day? It does me so much good to see 
how He has loved me, such a miserable sin- 
ner." 

There was a calm and a solemnity in her words 
which struck me singularly, as well as all those 
who were there. 

After I had finished reading, she exclaimed, 
* He has loved me so much that He died for my 
sins!" And she shut her eyes as if to meditate in 
silence, but there was a stream of big tears rolling 
down her cheeks. 

I knelt down by her bed, with her family, to 
pray; but I could not utter a single word. The 
idea that this dear child was there, dying from the 
cruel fanaticisms of my theologians and my own 
cowardice in obeying them, was a mill-stone to 
my neck. It was killing me. 

Oh! if by dying a thousand times, I could have 



52 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

added a single day to her life, with what pleasure 
I would have accepted those thousand deaths! 

After we had silently prayed and wept by her 
bedside, she requested her mother to leave her 
alone with me. 

When I saw myself alone, under the irresistible 
impression that this was her last day, I fell on my 
knees again, and with tears of the most sincere 
compassion for her soul, I requested her to shake 
off her shame and to obey our holy Church, which 
requires every one to confess their sins if they want 
to be forgiven. 

She'calmnly, but with an air of diguity which 
no human words can express, said, " Is it true that, 
after the sin of Adam and Eve, God Himself made 
coats and skins, and clothed them, that they might 
not see each other's nakedness?" 

"Yes," I said "that is what the Holy Scriptures 
tell us." 

"Well, then, how is it possible that our confess- 
ors dare to take away from us that holy, divine 
eoat of modesty and self-respect? Has not Almighty 
God Himself made, with His own hands that coat 
of womanly modesty and self-respect that we 
might not be to you and to ourselves, a cause of 
shame and sin ? " 

I was really stunned by the beauty, simplicity, 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 53 

and sublimity of that comparison. I remained ab- 
solutely mute and confounded. Though it was 
demolishing all the traditions and doctrines of my 
Church, and pulverizing all my holy doctors and 
theologians, that noble ansA^er found such an echo 
in my soul, that it seemed to me a sacrilege to try 
to touch it with my finger. 

After a short time of silence, she continued, 
" Twice I have boen destroyed by priests in the 
confessional. They took away from me that divine 
coat of modesty and self-respect which God gives 
to every human being who comes into this world, 
and twice, I have become for those very priests a 
deep pit of perdition, into which they have fallen, 
and where, I fear, they are forever lost! My mer- 
ciful heavenly Father has given me back that coat 
of skins, that nuptial robe of modesty, self-respect, 
and holiness, which had been taken away from me* 
He cannot allow you or any other man, to tear 
again and spoil that vestment which is the work 
of His hands." 

These words had exhausted her; it was evident 
to me that she wanted some rest. I left her alone, 
but I was absolutely beside myself. Filled with 
admiration for the sublime lessons which I had re- 
ceived from the lips of that regenerated daughter 
of Eve, who, it was evident, was soon to fly away 



54 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

from us, I felt a supreme disgust for myself, my 
theologians, and — shall I say it? yes, I felt in that 
solemn hour a supreme disgust for my Church, 
which was so cruelly defiling me, and all her priests 
in the confessional-box. I felt, in that hour, a 
supreme horror for that auricular confession, which 
is so often a pit of perdition and supreme misery 
for the confessor and penitent. I went out and 
walked two hours on the Plains of Abraham, to 
breathe the pure and refreshing air of the moun- 
tain. There, alone, I sat on a stone, on the very 
spot where Wolfe and Montcalm had fought and 
died; and I wept to my heart's content, on my 
irreparable degradation, and the degradation of so 
many priests through the confessional. 

At four o'clock in the afternoon I went back 
again to the house of my dear dying Mary. The 
mother took me apart, and very politely said, 
(i My clear Mr. Chiniquy, do you not think it is 
time that our dear child should receive the. last 
sacraments? She seemed to be much bettei this 
morning, and we were full of hope; but she is now 
rapidly sinking. Please lose no time in giving 
her the holy viaticum and the extreme unction." 

I said, "Yes, madam: let me pass a few minutes 
alone with our poor dear child, that I may prepare 
her for the last sacraments." 



THE ICIEST, WoMAN (ND confessional. 55 

When alone with her, I again fell on my knees, 
and, amidst torrents of tears, I said, " Dear sister, 
it is my desire to give you the holy viaticum and 
the extreme unction; but tell me, how can I dare 
to do a thing so solemn against all the prohibitions 
of our Holy Church? How can I give you the 
holy communion without first giving you absolu- 
tion? and how can I give you absolution when you 
earnestly persist in telling me that you have many 
sins which you will never declare either to me or 
any other confessor? 

"You know that I cherish and respect you as if 
you were an angel sent to me from heaven. You 
told me, the other day, that you blessed the day 
that you first saw and knew me. I say the same 
thing. I bless the day that I have known you; I 
bless every hour that I have spent by your bed of 
suffering; I bless every tear which I have shed 
with you on your sins and on my own; I bless 
every hour we have passed together in looking to 
the wounds of our beloved, dying Saviour; I bless 
you for having forgiven me your death! for I know 
it, and I confess it in the presence of God, I have 
killed you, dear sister. But now I prefer a thou- 
sand times to die than to say to you a word which 
would pain you in any way, or trouble the peace 
of your soul. Please, my dear sister, tell me 



5-6 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

what I can and must do for you in this solemn 
hour." 

Calmly, and with a smile of joy such as I had never 
seen before, nor seen since, she said, " I thank and 
bless you, dear father, for the parable of the Prodi- 
gal Son, on which you preached a month ago. You 
have brought me to the feet of the dear Saviour; 
there I have found a peace and a joy surpassing 
anything the human heart can feel ; I have thrown 
myself into the arms of my Heavenly Father, and 
I know He has mercifullj- accepted and forgiven 
His poor prodigal child ! Oh, I see the angels 
with their golden harps around the throne of the 
Lamb ! Do you not hear the celestial harmony of 
their songs? I go — I go to join them in my Fath- 
er's house. I SHALL NOT BE LOST! » 

While, she was thus speaking to me, my eyes 
were really turned into two fountains of tears ; I 
was unable, as well as unwilling, to see anything, 
so entirely overcome was I by the sublime words 
which were flowing from the dying lips of that 
dear child, who was no more a sinner, but a real 
angel of Heaven to me. I was listening to her 
words ; there was a celestial music in every one of 
them. But she had raised her voice in such a 
strange way, when she had begun to say, " I go to 
my Father's house," and she had made such a cry 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 57 

of joy when she had let the last words, "not be 
lost," escape her lips, that I raised my head and 
opened my eyes to look at her. I suspected that 
something strange had occurred. 

I got upon my feet, passed my handkerchief 
over my face to wipe away the tears which were 
preventing me from seeing with accuracy, and 
looked at her. 

Her hands were crossed on her breast, and there 
was on her face the expression of a really super- 
human joy; her beautiful eyes were fixed as if they 
were looking on some grand and sublime spec- 
tacle ; it seemed to me, at first, that she was pray- 
ing. 

In that very instant the mother rushed into the 
room, crying, "My God! my God! what does 
that cry i lost ' mean?''' — For her last words, 
"not to be lost, 1 ' particularly the last one, had 
been pronounced with such a powerful voice, that 
they had been heard almost everywhere in the 
house. 

I made a sign with my hand to prevent the dis- 
tressed mother from making any noise and troub- 
ling her dying child in her prayer, for I really 
thought that she had stopped speaking, as she 
used so often to do, when alone with me, in order 
to pray. But I was mistaken. That redeemed 



58 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

soul had gone, on the golden wings of love, to join 
the multitude of those who have washed their robes 
in the blood of the Lamb, to sing the eternal 
Alleluia. 




CHAPTER II. 



AURICULAR CONFESSION A DEEP PIT OF PERDITION 
FOR THE PRIEST. 

IT was some time after our dear Mary had been 
buried. The terrible and mysterions cause of 
her death was known only to God and to myself. 
Though her loving mother was still weeping over 
her grave, as usual, she had soon been forgotten by 
the greatest part of those who had known her ; but 
she was constantly present to my mind. I never 
entered the confessional-box without hearing her 
solemn, though so mild voice, telling me, "There 
must be, somewhere, something wrong in the aur- 
icular confession. Twice I have been destroyed 
by my confessors ; and I have known several others 
who have have been destroyed in the same way." 
More than once, when her voice was ringing in 
my ears from her tomb, I had shed bitter tears on 
the profound and unfathomable degradation into 
which I, with the other priests, had to fall in the 
confessional-box. For many, many times, stories 
as deplorable as that of this unfortunate girl were 



60 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

confessed to me by city, as well as country 
females. 

One night I was awakened by the rumbling noise 
of thunder, when I heard some one knocking at 
the door. I hastened out of bed to ask who was 

there. The answer was that the Eev. Mr. 

was dying, and that he wanted to see me before 
his death. I dressed myself, and was soon on the 
highway. The darkness was fearful; and often, 
had it not been for the liffhtninsr which was almost 
constantly tearing the clouds, we should not have 
known where we were. After a long and hard 
journey through the darkness and the storm, we 
arrived at the house of the dying priest. I went 
directly to his room, and really found him very 
low: he could hardly speak. With a sign of his 
hand he bade his servant girl, and a young man 
who were there, to go out, and leave him alone 
with me. 

Then he said, in a low voice, " Was it you who 
prepared poor Mary to die?" 

" Yes, sir," I answered. 

" Please tell me the truth. Is it a fact that she 
died the death of a reprobate, and that her last 
words were, ' Oh my God! I am lost!" 

I answered him, " As I was the confessor of that 
girl, and we were talking together on matters 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 61 

which pertained to her confession at the very 
moment that she was unexpectedly summoned to 
appear before God, I cannot answer your question 
in any way ; please, then, excuse me if I cannot 
say any more on that subject : but tell me who can 
have assured you that she died the death of a rep- 
robate I" 

" It was her own mother," answered the dying 
man. " Last week she came to visit me, and when 
ahe was alone with me, with many tears and cries, 
she said how her poor child had refused to receive 
the last sacraments, and how her last cry was, * I 
am lost!" She added that that cry, i Lost!' was 
pronounced with such a frightful power that it was 
heard through all the house." 

u If her mother told you that," I replied, "you 
may believe what you please about the way that 
poor child died. I cannot say a word — you know 
it — about the matter." 

"But if she is lost," rejoined the old, dying 
priest, "lam the miserable one who has destroyed 
her. She was an angel of purity when she came to 
the convent. Oh ! dear Mary, if you are lost, I 
am a thousandfold more lost ! Oh, my God, my 
God ! what will become of me ? I am dying ; and 
I am lost ! ' ' 

It was indeed an awful thing to see that old sin- 



62 THE PRIEST, 

ner wringing his hands, and rolling on his bed, as 
if he had been on burning coals, with all the marks 
of the most frightful despair on his face, crying, " I 
am lost! Oh, my God, I am lost!" 

I was glad that the claps of thunder which were 
shaking the house, and roaring without ceasing, 
prevented the people outside the room from hear- 
ing the cries of desolation from the priest, whom 
every one considered a great saint. 

When it seemed to me his terror had somewhat 
subsided, and that his mind was calmed a little, I 
said to him, " My dear friend, you must not give 
yourself up to such despair. Our merciful God has 
promised to forgive the repenting sinner who comes 
to Him, even at the last hour of the day. Address 
yourself to the Virgin Mary, she will ask and ob- 
tain your pardon." 

" Do you not think that it is too late to ask par- 
don? The doctor has honestly warned me that 
death is very near, and I feel that I am just now 
dying. Is it not too late to ask and obtain par- 
don?" asked the dying priest. 

' ' No ! my dear sir, it is not too late, if you sin- 
cerely regret your sins. Throw yourself into the 
arms of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ; make your con- 
fession without any more delay; I will absolve 
you, and you will be saved." 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 63 

"But I have never made a good confession. 
Will you help me to make a general one ?" 

It was my duty to grant him his request, and the 
rest of the night was spent by me in hearing the 
confession of his whole life. 

I do not want to give many particulars of the life 
of that priest. First : It was then that I under- 
stood why poor Mary was absolutely unwilling to 
mention the iniquities which she had committed 
with him. They were simply surpassingly horri- 
ble—unmentionable. No human tongue can ex- 
press them — few human ears would consent to hear 
them. 

The second thing that I am bound in conscience 
to reveal is almost incredible, but it is nevertheless 
true. The number of married and unmarried 
females he had heard in the confessional was about 
1,500, of whom he said he had destroyed or scan- 
dalised at least 1,000 by his questioning them on 
most depraved things, for the simple pleasure of 
gratifying his own corrupted heart, without letting 
them know anything of his sinful thoughts and 
criminal desires towards them. But he confessed 
that he had destroyed the purity of ninety-five of 
those penitents, who had consented to sin with 
him. 

And would to God that this priest had been the 



64 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

only one whom I have known to be lost through 
the auricular confession. But, alas! how few are 
those who have escaped the snares of the tempter 
compared with those who have perished? I have 
heard the confessions of more than 200 priests, and 
to say the truth, as God knows it, I must declare 
that only twenty-one had not to weep over the 
secret or public sins committed through the irresist- 
ibly corrupting influences of auricular confession ! 

I am now more than seventy-seven years old, and 
in a short time I shall be in my grave. I shall 
have to give an account of what I now say. Well, 
it is in the presence of my great Judge, with my 
tomb before my eyes, that I declare to the world 
that very few — yes, very few 7 — priests escape 
from falling into the pit of the most horrible 
moral depravity the world has ever known, through 
the confession of females. 

I do not say this because I have any bad feelings 
against those priests; God knows I have none. 
The only feelings I have are of supreme compas- 
sion and pity. I do not reveal these awful things 
to make the world believe that the priests of Rome 
are a worse set of men than the rest of the innum- 
erable fallen children of Adam; no; I do not enter- 
tain any such views; for everything considered,, 
and weighed in the balance of religion, charity and 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 65 

common sense— I think that the priests of Home 
are far from being worse than any other set of men 
who would be thrown into the same temptations, 
dangers, and unavoidable occasions of sin. 

For instance, let us take lawyers, merchants, or 
farmers, and, preventing them from living with 
their lawful wives, let us surround each of them 
from morning to night, by ten, twenty, and some- 
times more, beautiful women and tempting girls, 
who would speak to them of things which would 
pulverize a rock of Scotch granite, and you will see 
how many of those lawyers, merchants, or farmers 
would come out of that terrible moral battle-field 
without being mortally wounded. 

The cause of the supreme — I dare say incredible, 
though unsuspected — immorality of the priests of 
Rome is a very evident and logical one. By the 
diabolical power of the Pope, the priest is put out 
of the ways which God has offered to the gen- 
erality of men to be honest, upright and holy.* 
And after the Pope has deprived them of the 
grand, holy, and Divine (in this sense that it comes 
directly from God) remedy w hich God has given 
to man against his own concupiscence — holy mar- 
riage, they are placed unprotected and unguarded 

* u To avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, 
and let every woman have her own husband" (r Cor. viL z.\ 



66 THE PRIEST. WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

in the most perilous, difficult, and irresistible moral 
dangers which human ingenuity or depravity can 
conceive. Those unmarried men are forced, from 
morning to night, to be in the midst of beautiful 
girls, and tempting, charming women, who have 
to tell them things which would melt the hardest 
steel. How can you expect that they will cease to 
be men, and become stronger than angels ? 

Not only are the priests of Rome deprived by 
the devil of the only remedy which God has given 
to help them to withstand, but in the confessional 
they have the greatest facility which can possibly 
be imagined for satisfying all the bad propensities 
of fallen human nature. In the confessional they 
knovj those who are strong, and they also know 
those who are weak among the females by whom 
they are surrounded ; they know who would resist 
/any attempt from the enemy ; and they know who 
are ready — nay, who are longing after the deceitful 
charms of sin. If they still retain the fallen nature 
)f man, what a terrible hour for them ? what fright- 
ful battles inside the poor heart ? what superhuman 
effort and strength would be required to come out 
a conqueror from that battle field, where a David 
and a Samson have fallen mortally wounded ? 

It is simply an act of supreme stupidity on the 
part of the Protestant, as well as Catholic public, 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 6T 

to suppose, or suspect, or hope that the generality 
of the priests can stand such a trial. The pages of 
the history of Rome herself are filVi with unan- 
swerable proofs that the great generality of the 
confessors fall. If it were not so, the miracle of 
Joshua, stopping the march of the sun and the 
/noon, would be childish play co2npared with the 
miracle which would stop and reverse all the laws 
of our common fallen nature in the hearts of the 
100,000 Roman Catholic confessors of the Church 
of Rome. Were I attempting to prove, by public 
facts, what I know of the horrible depravity caused 
by the confessional-box among the priests of France, 
Canada, Spain, Italy, and England, I should have 
to write many big volumes in folio. For brevity's 
sake, I will speak only of Italy. I take that coun- 
try, because, being u^ider the very eyes of their 
infallible and most holy (?) pontiff, being in the 
land of daily miracles, of painted Madonnas, who 
weep and turn their eyes left and right, up and 
down, in a most marvellous way, being in the land 
of miraculous medals and heavenly spiritual favors, 
constantly flowing from the chair of St. Peter, the 
confessors in Italy, seeing every year the miracu- 
lous melting of the blood of St. January, having 
in their midst the hair of the Virgin Mary, and a 
part oi her shirt, are in the best possible circum- 



68 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

stances to be strong, faithful and holy. Well, let 
us hear the testimouy of an eye-witness, a con- 
temporary, and an unimpeachable witness about 
the way the confessors deal with the penitent 
females in the holy, apostolical, infallible (?) 
Church of Rome. 

The witness we will hear is of the purest blood 
of the princes of Italy. Her name is Henrietta 
Carracciolo, daughter of the Marshal Carracciolo, 
Governor of the Province of Pari, in Italy. Let us 
hear what she says of the Father Confessors, after 
twenty years of personal experience in different nun- 
neries of Italy, in her remarkable book, "Mysteries 
of the Neapolitan Convents," pp. 150, 151, 152: 
" My confessor came the following day, and I dis- 
closed to him the nature of the troubles which beset 
me. Later in the day, seeing. that I had gone down 
to the place where we used to receive the holy com- 
munion, called Communichino, the conversa of my 
aunt rang the bell for the priest to come with the 
pyx.* He was a man of about fifty years of age, 
very corpulent, with a rubicund face, and a type of 
physiognomy as vulgar as it was repulsive. 

" I approached the little window to receive the 
sacred wafer on my tongue, with my eyes closed, 

* A silver box containing consecrated bread, which is be- 
lieved to be the real body, blood and divinity of Jesus Christ. 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 69 

as is customary. I placed it on my tongue, and, 
as I drew back, I felt my cheeks caressed. I 
opened my eyes, but the priest had withdrawn his 
hand, and, thinking I had been deceived, I gave it 
no more attention. 

" On the next occasion, forgetful of what had 
occurred before, I received the sacrament with 
closed eyes again, according to precept. This 
time I distinctly felt my chin caressed again, and 
on opening my eyes suddenly, I found the priest 
gazing rudely upon me with a sensual smile on his 
face. 

"There could be no longer any doubt ; these 
overtures were not the result of accident. 

" The daughter of Eve is endowed with a greater 
degree of curiosity than man. It occurred to me 
to place myself in a contiguous apartment, where I 
could observe whether this libertine priest was 
accustomed to take similar liberties with the nuns. 
I did so, and was fully convinced that only the old 
left him without being caressed. 

11 All the others allowed him to do with them as 
he pleased , and even, in taking leave of him, did 
so with the utmost reverence. 

"'Is this the respect,' said I to myself, 'that 
the priests and the spouses of Christ have for their 
sacrament of the Eucharist ? Shall the poor novice 



70 THE PRIEST^ WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

be enticed to leave the world in order to learn, 
in this school, such lessons of self-respect and 
chastity?' " 

Page 163, we read: "The fanatical passion of 
the nuns for their confessors, priests, and monks, 
exceeds belief. That which especially renders 
their incarceration endurable is the illimitable op- 
portunity they enjoy of seeing and corresponding 
with those persons with whom they are in love. 
This freedom localizes and identifies them with the 
convent so closely that they are unhappy, when, 
on account of any serious sickness, or while pre- 
paring to take the veil, they are obliged to pass 
some months in the bosom of their own families, 
in company with their fathers, mothers, brothers, 
and sisters. It is not to be presumed that these 
relatives would permit a young girl to pass many 
hours, each day, in a mysterious colloquy with a 
priest, or a monk, and maintain with him this con- 
respondence. This is a liberty which they can 
enjoy in the convent only. 

" Many are the hours which the Heloise spends 
in the confessional, in agreeable pastime with her 
Abelard in cassock. 

"Others, whose confessors happen to be old, 
have in addition a spiritual director, with whom 
they amuse themselves a long time every day 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. <1 

tete-a-tete, in the parlatoria. When this is not 
enough, they simulate an illness, in order to have 
him alone in their own rooms." 

Page 166, we read : " Another nun, being some- 
what infirm, her priest confessed her in her own 
room. After a time, the invalid penitent found 
herself in what is called an interesting situation, 
on which account, the physician declaring that her 
complaint was dropsy, she was sent away from the 
convent." 

Page 167 : " A young educanda was in the habit 
of going down, every night, to the convent burying- 
place, where, by a corridor which communicated 
with the vestry, she entered into a colloquy with a 
young priest attached to the church. Consumed 
by an amorous passion, she was not deterred by 
bad weather or the fear ot being discovered. 

"She heard a great noise, one night, near her. 
In the thick darkness which surrounded her, she 
imagined that she saw a viper winding itself round 
her feet. She was so much overcome by fright, 
that she died from the effects of it a few months 
later." 

Page 168: " One of the confessors had a young 
penitent in the convent. Every time he was 
called to visit a dying sister, and on that account 
passed the night in the convent, this nun would 



V2 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

climb over the partition which separated her room 
from his, and betake herself to the master and 
director of her soul. 

" Another, during the delirium of a typhoid fever 
from which she was suffering, was constantly 
imitating the action of sending kisses to her con- 
fessor, who stood by the side of her bed. He, 
covered with blushes on account of the presence of 
strangers, held a crucifix before the eyes of the 
penitent, and exclaimed in a commiserating tone: — 

" i Poor thing! kiss thy own spouse !' " 

Page 168: "Under the bonds of secresy, an 
educanda, of fine form and pleasing manners, and 
of a noble family, confided to me the fact of her 
having received, from the hands of her confessor, 
a very interesting book (as she described it) which 
related to the monastic life. I expressed the wish 
to know the title, and she, before showing it to me, 
took the precaution to lock the door. 

" It proved to be the Monaca, by Dalembert, a 
book as all know, filled with the most disgusting 
obscenity. ' ' 

Page 169: "I received once, from a monk, a 
letter in which he signified to me that he had hardly 
seen me when i he conceived the sweet hope of 
becoming my confessor. ' An exquisite of the first 
water, a fop of scents and euphuism, could not have 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 16 

employed phrases more melodramatic, to demand 
whether he might hope or despair." 

Page 169 : "A priest who enjoyed the reputa- 
tion of being an incorruptible sacerdote, when he 
saw me pass through the parlatoria, used to address 
me as follows : — 

44 4 Ps, dear, come here ; Ps, Ps, come here V 

"These words, addressed to me by a priest, 
were nauseous in the extreme. 

"Finally, another priest, the most annoying of 
all for his obstinate assiduity, sought to secure my 
affections at all cost. There was not an image pro- 
fane poetry could afford him, nor a sophism he 
could borrow from rhetoric, nor wily interpretation 
he could give to the Word of God, which he did 
not employ to convert me to his wishes. Here is 
an example of his logic: — 

444 Fair daughter, 1 said he to me one day, 
4 knowest thou who God truly is ? ' 

444 He is the Creator of the Universe,' I answered 
drily. 

44 4 ]So, — no, — no, — no! that it is not enough,' 
he replied, laughing at my ignorance. 4 God is 
love, but love in the abstract, which receives its 
incarnation in the mutual affection of two hearts 
which idolise each other. You, then, must not 
only love God in His abstract existence, but must 



74 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

also love Him in His incarnation, that is, in the 
exclusive love of a man who adores you. Quod 
Deus est amor, nee colitur nisi amando. ' 

"'Then,' I replied, 'a woman who adores her 
own lover would adore Divinity itself? ' 

" Assuredly,' reiterated the priest, over and over 
agafn, taking courage from my remark, and chuck- 
ling at what seemed to him to be the effect of his 
catechism. 

" ' In that case,' said I, hastily, u I should select 
for my lover rather a man of the world than a 
priest.' 

"'God preserve you, my daughter! God pre- 
serve you from that sin! ' added my interlocutor,, 
apparently frightened, ' To love a man of the world,. 
a sinner, a wretch, an unbeliever, an infidel ! Why, 
you would go immediately to hell. The love of a 
priest is a sacred love, while that of a profane man 
is infamy ; the faith of a priest emanates from that 
granted to the holy Church, while that of the pro- 
fane is false — false as the vanity of the world. 
The priest purifies his affections daily in commun- 
ion with the Holy Spirit ; the man of the world (if 
he ever knows love at all) sweeps the muddy cross- 
ings of the street with it day and night. ' 

" ' But it is the heart, as well as the conscience^ 
which prompts me to fly from the priests,' I replied. 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. ii> 

" * Well, if you cannot love me because I am 
your confessor, I will find means to assist you to- 
get rid of your scruples. We will place the name 
of Jesus Christ before all our affectionate demon- 
strations, and thus our love will be a grateful offer- 
ing to the Lord, and will ascend fragrant with per- 
fume to Heaven, like the smoke of the incense of 
the sanctuary. Say to me, for example, " I love 
you in Jesus Christ ; last night I dreamed of you 
in Jesus Christ ;" and you will have a tranquil 
conscience, because in doing this you will sanctify 
every transport of your love. " 

u Several circumstances not indicated here, by 
the way, compelled me to come in frequent con- 
tact with this priest afterwards, and I do not, there- 
fore, give his name." 

" Of a very respectable monk, respectable alike 
for his age and his moral character, I enquired 
what signified the prefixing the name of Jesus- 
Christ to amorous apostrophes." 

"It is,' he said, 'an expression used by a hor- 
rible sect, and one unfortunately only too numer- 
ous, which, thus abusing the name of our Lord, 
permits to its members the most unbridled licen- 
tiousness." 

And it is my sad duty to say, before the whole 
world, that I know that by far the greater part of 



76 THE PRIEST, WOMAN, AND CONFESSIONAL. 

the confessors in America, Spain, France, an .. 
England, reason and act just like that licentious 
Italian priest. 

Christian nations! If you could know what will 
become of the virtue of your fair daughters if you 
allow secret or public slaves of Rome under the 
name of Ritualists to restore the auricular confes- 
sion, with what a storm of holy indignation you 
would defeat their plans ! 




CHAPTER III. 



THE CONFESSIONAL IS THE MODERN SODOM. 



IF anyone wants to hear an eloquent oration, let 
him go wlaere the Roman Catholic priest is 
preaching on the divine institution of auricular 
confession. There is no subject, perhaps, on which 
the priests display so much zeal and earnestness, 
and of which they speak so often. For this insti- 
tution is really the corner-stone of their stupendous 
power; it is the secret of their almost irresistible 
influence. Let the people open their eyes, to-day, 
to the truth, and understand that auricular con- 
fession is one of the most stupendous impostures 
which Satan has invented, to corrupt and enslave 
the world; let the people desert the confessional- 
box to-day, and to-morrow Romanism will fall into 
the dust. The priests understand this very well ; 
hence their constant efforts to deceive the people 
on that question. To attain their object, they have 
recourse to the most egregious falsehoods ; the 
Scriptures are misrepresented ; the holy Fathers 
are brought to say the very contrary of what they 



78 THE PKIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

have ever thought or written ; and the most extra- 
ordinary miracles and stories are invented. But 
two of the arguments to which they have more 
often recourse, are the great and perpetual miracles 
which God makes to keep the purity of the con- 
fessional undefiled, and its secrets marvellously 
sealed. They make the people believe that the 
vow of perpetual chastity changes their nature, 
turns them into angels, and puts them above the 
common frailties of the fallen children of Adam. 

Bravely, and with a brazen face, when they are 
interrogated on that subject, they say that they 
have special graces to remain pure and undefiled 
in the midst of the greatest dangers ; that the Vir- 
gin Mary, to whom they are consecrated, is their 
powerful advocate to obtain from her Son that 
superhuman virtue of chastity ; that what would 
be a cause of sure perdition to common men, is 
without peril and danger for a true Son of Mary ; 
and, with amazing stupidity, the people consent to 
be duped, blinded, and deceived by those fooleries. 

But here, let the world learn the truth as it is, 
from one who knows perfectly everything inside 
and outside the walls of that Modern Babylon. 
Though many, I know, will disbelieve me and say, 
" We hope you are mistaken ; it is impossible that 
the priests of Rome should turn out to be such im- 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 79 

postors ; they may be mistaken ; they may believe 
and repeat things which are not true, but they are 
honest ; they cannot be such impudent deceivers." 

Yes ; though I know that many will hardly be- 
lieve me, I must tell the truth. 

Those very men, who, when speaking to the peo- 
ple in such glowing terms of the marvellous way 
they are kept pure, in the midst of the dangers 
which surround them, honestly blush — and often 
weep — when they speak to each other (when they 
are sure that nobody, except priests, hear them). 
They deplore their own moral degradation with the 
utmost sincerity and honesty; they ask from God 
and men, pardon for their unspeakable depravity. 

I have here — in my hands, and under my eyes- 
one of their most remarkable secret books, written 
(or at least approved) by one of their greatest and 
best bishops and cardinals, the Cardinal de Bon* 
aid, Archbishop of Lyons. 

The book is written for the use of priests alone. 
Its title is, in French, " Examen de Conscience des 
PretTes." At page 34, we read : — 

" Have I left certain persons to make the declar- 
ations of their sins in such a way that the imagina- 
tion, once taken and impressed by pictures and 
representations, could be dragged into a long course 
of temptations and grevious sins ? The priests do 



80 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

not pay sufficient attention to the continual tempta- 
tions caused by the hearing of confessions. The 
soul is gradually enfeebled in such a way that, af 
the end, the virtue of chastity is forever lost." 

Here is the address of a priest to other priests, 
when he suspects that nobody but his co-sinner 
brethern hear him. Here is the honest language 
of truth. 

In the presence of God those priests acknowl- 
edge that they have not a sufficient fear of those* 
constant (what a word — what an acknowledgment — • 
constant!) temptations, and they honestly confess 
that these temptations come from the hearing of 
the confessions of so many scandalous sins. Here 
the priests honestly acknowledge that those con- 
stant temptations, at the end, destroy forever in 
them the holy virtue of purity." 

Ah! would to God that all the honest girls and 
women whom the devil entraps into the snares of 
auricular confession, could hear the cries of distress 
of those poor priests whom they have tempted-- 
forever destroyed ! Would to God that they could 

* And remark, that all their religious authors who have 
written on that subject hold the same language. They all 
.speak of those continual degrading temptations ; they all lament 
the damning sins which follow those temptations ; they all en- 
treat the priests to fight those temptations and repent of those 
sins. 



YilE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 81 

gee tKe torrents of tears shed by so many priests, 
because, from the hearing of confessions, they had 
forever lost the virtue of purity! They would un- 

(jderstand that the confessional is a snare, a pit of 
(perdition, a Sodom for the priest; and they would 

</be struck with horror and shame at the idea of the 
continual, shameful, dishonest, degrading tempta- 
tions, by which their confessor is tormented day 
and night — they would blush on account of the 
shameful sins which their confessors have com- 
mitted —they would weep over the irreparable loss 
of their purity — they would promise before God 
and men that the confessional-box should never see 
them any more — they would prefer to be burned 
alive, if any sentiment of honesty and charity re- 
mained in them, rather than consent to be a cause 
of constant temptations and damnable sins to that 
man. 

Would that respectable lady go any more to con- 
fess to that man, if, after her confession, she could 
hear him lamenting the continual, shameful temp- 
tations which assail him day and night, and the 
damning: sins which he has committed on account 
of what she has confessed to him? No! — a thou- 
sand times, no! 

Would that honest father allow his beloved 
daughter to go any more to that man to confess, if 



82 THE PRIEST, WOMAN A *> *a>jS*jGS»IO;N t AL. 

he could hear his cries of distress, and see his tears 
flowing, because the hearing of those confessions is 
the source of constant, shameful temptations and 
degrading iniquities? 

Oh ! would to God that the honest Romanists all 
over the world — for there are millions, who, though 
deluded, are honest — could see what is going on in 
the heart, and the imagination of the poor con- 
fessor when he is, there, surrounded by attractive 
women and tempting girls, speaking to him from 
morning to night on things which a man cannot 
hear without falling. Then, that modern but grand 
imposture, called the Sacrament of Penance, would 
eoon be ended. 

But here, again, who will not lament the conse- 
quences of the total perversity of human na- 
ture? Those very same priests who, when alone, 
In the presence of God, speak so plainly of the con- 
stant temptations by which they are assailed, and 
who so sincerely weep over the irreparable loss of 
their virtue of purity, when they think that nobody 
hears them, will yet, in public, with a brazen face, 
deny those temptations. They will indignantly 
rebuke you as a slanderer if you say anything to 
lead them to suppose that you fear for their purity, 
when they hear the confessions of girls or married 
Momen! 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 83 

There is not a single one of the Roman Catholic 
-authors, who have written on that subject for the 
priests, who has not deplored their innumerable 
and degrading sins against purity, on account of 
the auricular confession; but those very men will 
be the first to try to prove the very contrary when 
they write books for the people. I have no words 
to tell what was my surprise when, for the first 
time, I saw that this strange duplicity seemed to 
be one of the fundamental stones of my Church. 

It was not very long after my ordination, when a 
priest came to me to confess the most deplorable 
things. He honestly told me that there was not a 
single one of the girls or married women whom he 
had confessed, who had not been a secret cause of 
the most shameful sins, in thought, desires, or 
actions; but he wept so bitterly over his degrada- 
tion, his heart seemed so sincerely broken on ac- 
count of his own iniquities, that I could not refrain 
from mixing my tears with his; I wept with him, 
and I gave him pardon for all his sins, as I then 
thought I had the power and right to give it. 

Two hours afterwards, that same priest, who was 
a good speaker, was in the pulpit. His sermon was 
on "The Divinity of Auricular Confession;" and, 
to prove that it was an institution coming directly 
from Christ, he said that the Son of God was per- 



84 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

forming a constant miracle to strengthen His 
priests, and prevent them from falling into sins, on 
account of what they might have heard in the con- 
fessional! ! ! 

The daily abominations, which are the result of 
auricular confession, are so horrible and so well 
known by the popes, the bishops, and the priests, 
that several times, public attempts have been made 
to diminish them by punishing the guilty priests] 
but all these commendable efforts have failed. 

One of the most remarkable of those efforts was 
made by Pius IV. about the year 1560. A Bull 
was published by him, by which all the girls and 
married women who had been seduced into sins by 
their confessors, were ordered to denounce them; 
and a certain number of high church officers of the 
Holy Inquisition were authorized to take the de- 
positions of the fallen penitents. The thing was, 
at first, tried at Seville, one of the principal cities 
of Spain. When the edict was first published, the 
number of women who felt bound in conscience to 
go and depose against their father confessors, was 
so great, that though there were thirty notaries, 
and as many inquisitors, to take the depositions, 
they were unable to do the work in the appointed 
time. Thirty days more were given, but the in- 
quisitors were so overwhelmed with the numberless 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 85 

depositions, that another period of time of the same 
length was given. But this, again, was found in- 
sufficient. At the end, it was found that the num- 
ber of priests who had destroyed the purity of 
their penitents was so great that it was impossible 
to punish them all. The inquest was given up, and 
the guilty confessors remained unpunished. Several 
attempts of the same nature have been tried by 
Mher popes, but with about the same success. 

But if those honest attempts on the part of some 
well-meaning popes, to punish the confessors who 
destroy the purity of the penitents, have failed to 
touch the guilty parties, they are, in the good 
orovidence of God, infallible witnesses to tell to 
the world that auricular confession is nothing else 
than a snare to the confessor and his dupes. Yes, 
ihose Bulls of the popes are an irrefragable testi- 
mony that auricular confession is the most pow- 
erful invention of the devil to corrupt the heart, 
pollute the body, and damn the soul of the priest 
and his female penitent! 




CHAPTER IV. 

HOW THE VOW OF CELIBACY OF THE PRIESTS IS MADE 
EASY BY AURICULAR CONFESSION. 

ARE not facts the best arguments? Well, here 
is an undeniable, a public fact, which is con- 
nected with a thousand collateral ones, to prove- 
that auricular confession is the most powerful 
machine of demoralization which the world has 



ever seen. 

About the year 1830, there was in Quebec a fine- 
looking young priest; he had a magnificent voice, 
and was a pretty good speaker.* Through regard 
for his family, which is still numerous and respect- 
able, I will not give his name: I will call him 

Rev. Mr. D . Having been invited to preach 

in a parish of Canada, about 100 miles distant from 
Quebec, called Vercheres, he was also requested to 
hear the confessions, during a few days of a kind 
of Novena (nine days of revival), which was going 
on in that place- Among his penitents was a beau- 
tiful young girl, about nineteen years old. She 

*He is dead long ago. 



THE PRIES7N WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 8f 

wanted to make a general confession of all her sins 
from the first age of. reason, and the confessor 
granted her request. Twice, every day, she was^ 
there, at the feet of hnr handsome young spiritual 
' physician, telling all her thoughts, her deeds, and 
her desires. Sometimes sh<* was remarked to have 
remained a whole hour in the confessional-box^ 
accusing herself of all her human frailties. What 
did she say? God only knows; but what became 
hereafter known by a great part of the entire part 
of the population of Canada is, that the confessor 
fell in love with his fair penitent, and that she 
burned with the same irresistible fires for her con- 
fessor — as it so often happens. 

It was not an easy matter for the priest and the 
young girl to meet each other in as complete a 
tete-a-tete as they both wished; for there were too 
many eyes upon them. But the confessor was a 
man of resources. On the last day of Novena, he 
said to his beloved penitent, u I am going now 
to Montreal; but in three days, I will take the 
steamer back to Quebec. That steamer is accus- 
tomed to stop here. At about twelve, at night, 
be on the wharf dressed as a young man; but let 
no one know your secret. You will embark in the 
steamboat, where you will not be known, if you 
have any prudence. You will come to Quebec, 



88 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

where you will be engaged as a servant boy by the 
curate, of whom I am the vicar. Nobody will 
know your sex except myself, and, there, we will 
be happy together." 

The fourth day after this, there was a great des- 
olation in the family of the girl ; for she had sud- 
denly disappeared, and her robes had been found 
on the shores of the St Lawrence River. There 
was not the least doubt in the minds of all relations 
and friends, that the general confession she had 
made, had entirely upset her mind ; and in an ex- 
cess of craziness, she had thrown herself into the 
deep and rapid waters of the St. Lawrence Many 
searches were made to find her body ; but, of 
course, all in vain. Many public and private 
prayors were oifered to God to help her escape from 
the flames of Purgatory, where she might be con- 
demned to suffer for many years, and much money 
was given to the priest to sing high masses, in 
order to extinguish the fires of that burning prison, 
where every Roman Catholic believes he must go 
to be purified before entering the regions of eternal 
happiness. 

I will not give the name of the girl, though I 
have it, through compassion for her family ; I will 
call her Geneva. 

Well, when father and mother, brothers, sisters, 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 89 

and friends were shedding tears at the sad end of 
Geneva, she was in the parsonage of the rich Curate 
of Quebec, well paid, well fed, and dressed — happy 
and cheerful with her beloved confessor. She was 
exceedingly neat in her person, always obliging, 
and ready to run and do what you wanted at the 
very twinkling of your eye. Her new name was 
Joseph, by which I will now call her. 

Many times I have seen the smart Joseph at the 
parsonage of Quebec, and admired his politeness 
and good manners ; though it seemed to me, some- 
times, that he looked too much like a girl, and that 
lie was a little too much at ease with the Eev. Mr. 

D — , and also with the Eight Eev. Bishop 

M — . But every time the idea came to me 

that Joseph was a girl, I felt indignant with myself. 
The high respect I had for the Coadjutor Bishop, 
who was also the Curate of Quebec, made it almost 
impossible to imagine that he would ever allow a 
beautiful girl to sleep in the adjoining room to his 
own, and to serve him day and night; for Joseph's 
sleeping-room was just by that of the Coadjutor, 
who, for several bodily infirmities (which were not 
a secret to every one), wanted the help of his ser- 
vant several times at night, as well as during the 
day. 

Things went on very smoothly with Joseph dur- 



DO THE PRIEST WOMAN, AND CONFESSIONAL, 

ing two or three years, in the Coadjutor Bishop's 
house ; but at the end, it seemed to many people? 
outside, that Joseph was taking too great airs of 
familiarity with the young vicars, and even with, 
the venerable Coadjutor. Several of the citizens 
of Quebec, who were going more often than others 
to the parsonage, were surprised and shocked at 
the familiarity of that servant boy with his mas- 
ters ; he really seemed sometimes to be on equal 
terms with, if not somewhat above them. 

An intimate friend of the Bishop — a most de- 
voted Roman Catholic — who was my near relative, 
took upon himself one day to respectfully say to 
the Eight Eev. Bishop that it would be prudent to 
turn out that impudent young man from his pal- 
ace — that he was the object of strong and most 
deplorable suspicions. 

The position of the Eight Eev. Bishop and hi* 
vicars, was, then, not a very agreeable one. Their 
barque had evidently drifted among dangerous 
rocks. To keep Joseph among them was impossi- 
ble, after the friendly advice which had come from 
such a high quarter; and to dismiss him was not 
less dangerous ; he knew too much of the interior 
and secret lives of all these holy (?) celibates, to 
deal with him as with another common servant- 
man. With a single word of his lips he could 



THE PEIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 91 

destroy them : they were as if tied to his feet by 
ropes, which, at first, seemed made with sweet 
cakes and ice-cream, but had suddenly turned into 
burning steel chains. Several days of anxiety 
passed away, and many sleepless nights succeeded 
the too happy ones of better times. But what was 
to be done ? There were breakers ahead ; breakers 
on the right, on the left, and on every side. How- 
ever, when everyone, particularly the venerable (?) 
Coadjutor, felt as criminals who expect their sen- 
tence, and that their horizon seemed surrounded 
absolutely by only dark and stormy clouds, a happy 
opening suddenly presented itself to the anxious 
sailors. 

The curate of " Les Eboulements," the Rev. 
Mr. Clement, had just come to Quebec on some- 
private business, and had taken up his quarters in 
the hospitable house of his old friend, the Right 

Rev. , Bishop Coadjutor. Both had been 

on very intimate terms for many years, and in 
many instances they had been of great service to- 
each other. The Pontiff ot the Church of Canada, 
hoping that his tried friend would perhaps help him 
out of the terrible difficulty of the moment, frankly 
told him all about Joseph, and asked him what he' 
ought to do under such difficult circumstances. 

" My Lord," said the curate of the Eboulements^ 



$2 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

" Joseph is just the servant I want. Pay him well, 
that he may remain your friend, and that his lips 
may be sealed, and allow me to take him with me. 
My housekeeper left me a few weeks ago ; I am 
alone in my parsonage with my old servant-man. 
Joseph is just the person I want." 

It would be difficult to tell the joy of the poor 
Bishop and his vicars, when they saw that heavy 
stone they had on their neck thus removed. 

Joseph, once installed into the parsonage of the 
pious (?) parish priest of the Eboulements, soon 
gained the favor of the whole people by his good 
and winning manners, and every parishioner com- 
plimented the curate on the smartness of his new 
servant. The priest, of course, knew a little more 
of that smartness than the rest of the people. 
Three years passed on very smoothly. The priest 
and his servant seemed to be on the most perfect 
terms. The only thing which marred the happi- 
ness of that lucky couple was that, now and then, 
some of the farmers whose eyes were sharper than 
those of their neighbors, seemed to think that the 
intimacy between the two was going a little too far, 
and that Joseph was really keeping in his hands 
the sceptre of the little priestly kingdom. Noth- 
ing could be done without his advice ; he was 
riddling in all the small and big affairs of the 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 93 

parish, and the curate seemed sometimes to be 
rather the servant than the master in his own house 
and parish. Those who had, at first, made these 
remarks privately, began, little by little, to convey 
their views to their next neighbor, and this one to 
the next : in that way, at the end of the third year, 
grave and serious suspicions began to spread from 
one to the other in such a way that the Marguilliers 
(a kind of Elders), thought proper to say to the 
priest that it would be better for him to turn Joseph 
out than to keep him any longer. But the old 
curate had passed so many happy hours with his 
faithful Joseph that it was as hard as death to give 
him up. 

He knew, by confession, that a girl in the vicin- 
ity was given to an unmentionable abomination, to 
which Joseph was also addicted. He went to her 
and proposed that she should marry Joseph, and 
that he (the priest) would help them to live com- 
fortably. Joseph, in order to live near his good 
master, consented also to marry the girl. Both 
knew very well what the other was. The banns 
were published during three Sabbaths, after which 
the old curate blessed the marriage of Joseph with 
the girl of his parishioner. 

They lived together as husband and wife, in such 
harmony that nobody could suspect the horrible 



94 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

depravity which was concealed behind that union. 
Joseph continued, with his wife, to work often for 
his priest, till after some time that priest was re- 
moved, and another curate, called Tetreau? was 
sent in his place. 

This new curate, knowing absolutely nothing oi 
that mystery of iniquity, employed also Joseph 
and his wife, several times. One day, when Joseph 
was working at the door of the parsonage, in the 
presence of several people, a stranger arrived, and 
enquired of him if the Kev. Mr. Tetreau, the cur* 
•ate, was there. 

Joseph answered " Yes, sir. But as you seem 
to be a stranger, would you allow me to ask you 
whence you come ? " 

"It is very easy, sir, to satisfy you. I com© 
from Vercheres," replied the stranger. 

At the word " Yercheres " Joseph turned so pale 
that the stranger could not but be struck with his 
sudden change of color. 

Then, fixing his eyes on Joseph, he cried out, 
"Oh my God! what do I see here! Geneva f 
Geneva ! I recognize you, and here you are in the 
disguise of a man ! " 

" Dear Uncle" (for it was her uncle), "for God's 
sake," she cried, " do not say a word more !" 

But it was too late. The people, who were there. 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 95 

liacl heard the uncle and niece. Their long secret 
suspicions were well-founded — one of their former 
priests had kept a girl under the disguise of a man 
in his house ! and, to blind his people more 
thoroughly, he had married that girl to another 
one, in order to have them both in his house when 
he pleased, without awakening any suspicion ! 

The news went almost as quick as lightning from 
one end to the other of the parish, and spread all 
over the northern country watered by the St. Law- 
rence River. 

It is more easy to imagine than express the sen- 
timents of surprise and horror which filled every- 
one. The justices of the peace took up the matter ; 
Joseph was brought before the civil tribunal, which 
decided that a physician should be charged to 
make, not a post-morte?n, but an ante-mortem in- 
quest. The Honorable Lateriere, who was called, 
and made the proper inquiry, declared that Joseph 
was a girl ; and the bonds of marriage were legally 
dissolved. 

During that time the honest Rev. Mr. Te'treau, 
3truck with horror, had sent an express to the 
Right Reverend Bishop Coadjutor, of Quebec, in- 
forming him that the young man whom he had 
kept in his house several years, under the name of 
Joseph, was a girl. 



96 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONCESSIONAL. 

Now, what were they to do with the girl, aftei 
all was discovered ? Her presence in Canada would 
forever compromise the holy (?) Church of Rome. 
She knew too well how the priests, through the 
confessional, select their victims, and help them- 
selves in their company, in keeping their solemn 
vows of celibacy ! What would have become of 
the respect paid to the priest, if she had been taken 
by the hand and invited to speak bravely and boldly 
before the people of Canada? 

The holy (?) Bishop and his vicars understood 
these things very well. 

•They immediately sent a trustworthy man with 
£500, to say to the girl that if she remained at 
Canada, she could be prosecuted and severly pun- 
ished ; that it was her interest to leave the country, 
and emigrate to the United States. They offered 
her the £500 if she would promise to go and never 
return. 

She accepted the offer, crossed the lines, and has 
never gone back to Canada, where her sad history 
is well known by thousands and thousands. 

In the providence of God I was invited to preach 
in that parish soon after, and I learned these facts 
accurately. 

The Rev. Mr. Tetreau, under whose pastorate 
this great iniquity was detected, began from that 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 97 

time to have his eyes opened to the awful depravity 
of the priests of Rome through the confessional. 

He wept and cried over his own degradation in 
the midst of that modern Sodom. Our merciful 
God looked down with compassion upon him, and 
sent him His saving grace. Not long after, he sent 
to the Bishop his renunciation of the errors and 
abominations of Romanism. 

To-day he is working in the vineyard of the Lord 
with the Methodists in the city of Montreal, where 
he is ready to prove the correctness of what I say.* 

Let those who have ears to hear, and eyes to 
see, understand, by this fact, that Pagan nations 
have not known any institution more depraving 
than Auricular Confession. 

* This was written in 1874. Now, in 1880, I have to say- 
that Rev. Mr. TGtreau died in 1877, in the peace of God, in 
Montreal. Twice before his death he ordered out the priests of 
Rome, who had come to try to persuade him to make his peace 
with the Pope, calling them " Suppots de Satan "— ** Devil's 
Messengers." 



CHAPTER V. 

THE HIGHLY- EDUCATED AND KEFINED WOMAN IN THE 
CONFESSIONAL. WHAT BECOMES OF HER UNCON- 
DITIONAL SURRENDER. HER IRREPARABLE RUIN. 

THE most skilful warrior has never had to dis- 
play so much skill and so many ruses de guerre 
— he has never had to use moye tremendous efforts 
to reduce and storm an impregnable citadel, than 
the confessor, who wants to reduce and storm the 
citadel of self-respect and honesty which God Him- 
self has built around the soul and the heart of 
every daughter of Eve. 

But, as it is through woman that the Pope wants 
to conquer the world, it is supremely important 
that he should enslave and degrade her by keeping 
her at his feet as his footstool, that she may become 
a passive instrument for the accomplishment of his 
vast and profound scheme. 

In order perfectly to master women in the higher 
circles of society, every confessor is ordered by the 
Pope to learn the most complicated and perfect 
strategy. He has to study a great number of 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 99 

treatises on the art of persuading the fair sex to 
confess to him plainly, clearly, and in detail, every 
thought, every secret desire, word, and deed, just 
as they occurred. 

And that art is considered so important and so 
difficult that all the theologians of Rome call it 

" the art of arts." 

ft , . — " 

Dens, St. Liguori, Chevassu, the author of the 
*' Mirror of the Clergy," Debreyne, and a multi- 
tude of authors too numerous to mention, have 
given the curious and scientific rules of that secret 
art. 

They all agree in declaring that it is a most diffi- 
cult and dangerous art ; they all confess that the 
least error of judgment, the least imprudence or 
temerity, when storming the impregnable citadel, 
is certain death (spiritual, of course) to the confes- 
sor and the penitent. 

The confessor is taught to make the first steps 
towards the citadel with the utmost caution, in 
order that his female penitent may not suspect at 
first, what he wants her to reveal ; for that would 
generally induce her to shut for ever the door of 
the fortress against him. After the first steps of 
advance, he is advised to make several steps back, 
and to put himself in a kind of spiritual ambus- 
cade, to see the effect of his first advance. If there 



100 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

is any prospect of success, then the word "March 
on!" is given, and a more advanced post of the 
citadel must be tried and stormed, if possible. In 
that way, little by little, the whole place is so well 
surrounded, so well crippled, denuded and dis- 
mantled, that any more resistance seems impossible 
on the part of the rebellious soul. 

Then, the last charge is ordered, the final assault 
is made; and if God does not perform a real 
miracle to save that soul, the last walls crumble, 
the doors are beaten down; then the confessor 
makes a triumphant entry into the place ; the very 
heart, soul, conscience, and intelligence are con 
quered. 

When once master of the place, the priest visits 
all its most secret recesses and corners ; he pries 
into its most sacred chambers. The conquered 
place is entirely and absolutely in his hands ; he is 
the supreme master; for the surrender has been 
unconditional. The confessor has become the only 
infallible ruler in the conquered place — nay, he has 
become its only God — for it is in the name of God 
he has besieged, stormed and conquered it ; it is in 
the name of God that, hereafter, he will speak and 
be obeyed. 

No human words can adequately convey an idea 
of the irreparable ruin which follows the successful 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 101 

♦storming and unconditional surrender of that, once, 
noble fortress. The longer and stronger the resis- 
tance has been, the more terrible and complete is 
the destruction of its beauty and strength; the 
nobler the struggle has been, the more irretrievable 
are the ruin and loss. Just as the higher and 
stronger the dam is built to stem the current of the 
rapid and deep waters of the river, the more awful 
will be the disasters which follows its destruction ; 
so it is with that noble soul. A mighty dam has 
been built by the very hand of God, called self- 
respect and womanly-modesty, to guard her against 
the pollutions of this sinful world; but the day that 
the priest of Rome succeeds, after long efforts, in 
destroying it, the soul is carried by an irresistible 
power into unfathomable abysses of iniquity. Then 
it is that the once respected lady will consent to 
hear, without a blush, things against which the 
most degraded woman would indignantly shut her 
ears. Then it is that she freely speaks with her 
confessor on matters, for reprinting which a printer 
in England has lately been sent to jail. 

At first, in spite of herself, but soon with a real 
sensual pleasure, that fallen angel, when alone, 
will think on what she has heard, and what she has 
said in the confessional-box. Then, in spite of her- 
self, the vilest thoughts will, at first irresistibly fill 



102 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

her mind; and soon the thoughts will engender 
temptations and sins. But those vile temptations 
and sins, which would have filled her with horror 
and regret before her entire surrender into the 
hands of the foe, beget very different sentiments, 
now that she is no more her own self-possessor and 
guide. The conviction of her sins is no more con- 
nected with the thought of a God, infinitely holy 
and just, whom she must serve and fear. The 
convictions of her sins is now immediately con- 
nected with the thought of a man with whom she 
will have to speak, and who will easily make every- 
thing right and pure in her soul by his absolu- 
tion. 

When the day for going to confession comes, 
instead of being sad, uneasy and bashful, as she 
used to be formerly, she feels pleased and delighted 
to have a new opportunity of conversing on those 
matters without impropriety and sin to herself; 
for she is now fully persuaded that there is no im- 
propriety, no shame, no sin ; nay, she believes, or 
tries to believe, that it is a good, honest, Christian, 
and godly thing to converse with her priest on those 
matters. 

Her most happy hours are when she is at the 
feet of that spiritual physician, showing him all the 
aewly-made wounds of her soul, and explaining all 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 103 

her constant temptations, her bad thoughts, her 
most intimate secret desires and sins. 

Then it is that the most sacred mysteries of the 
married life are revealed ; then it is that the mys- 
terious and precious pearls which God has given as 
a crown of mercy to those whom He has made one 
body, one heart and soul, by the blessed ties of a 
Christian union, are lavishly thrown before swine. 

Whole hours are passed by the fair penitent in 
thus speaking to her Father Confessor with the 
utmost freedom, on matters which would rank her 
amongst the most profligate and lost women, if it 
were only suspected by her friends and relatives. 
A single word of those intimate conversations 
would be followed by an act of divorce on the part 
of her husband, if it were known by him. 

But the betrayed husband knows nothing of the 
dark mysteries of auricular confession ; the duped 
father suspects nothing ; a cloud from hell has 
obscured the intelligence of them both, and made 
them blind. On the contrary, — husbands and 
fathers, friends and relations, feel edified and 
pleased with the touching spectacle of the piety of 

Madam and Miss . In the village, as well 

as in the city, every one has a word to speak in 

their praise. Mrs. is so often seen humbly 

prostrated at the feet, or by the side, of her con- 



104 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

fessor ; Miss remains so long in the confes- 
sional-box ; they receive the holy communion so 
frequently ; they both speak so eloquently and so 
often of the admirable piety, modesty, holiness, 
patience, charity, of their incomparable spiritual 
Father ! 

Every one congratulates them on their new and 
exemplary life, and they accept the compliment 
with the utmost humility, attributing their rapid 
progress in Christian virtues to the holiness of their 
confessor. He is such a spiritual man ; who could 
not make rapid strides under such a holy guide ? 

The more constant the temptations, the more 
the secret sins overwhelm the soul, and the more 
airs of peace and holiness are put on. The more 
foul the secret emanations of the heart, the more 
the fair and refined penitent surrounds herself by 
an atmosphere of the sweetest perfumes of a sham 
piety. The more polluted the inside of the sepul- 
chre is, the more shining and white the outside will 
be kept. 

Then it is that, unless God performs a miracle to 
prevent it, the ruin of that soul is sealed. She has 
drunk in the poisonous cup filled by the "mother 
of harlots," she has found the wine of her prosti- 
tution sweet ! She will henceforth delight in her 
spiritual and secret orgies. 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 105 

Her holy (?) confessor has told her that there is 
no impropriety, no shame, no sin, in that cup. 
The Pope has sacrilegiously written the word 
"Life" on that cup of "Death." She has be- 
lieved the Pope ; the terrible mystery of iniquity 
is accomplished ! 

"The 'mystery of iniquity doth already work, 
whose coming is after the working of Satan with all 
power and signs and lying wonders, and with all 
deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that 
perish, because they received not the love of the 
truth that they might be saved. And fortius cause 
God shall send them strong delusion, that they 
should believe a lie ; that they all might be damned 
who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in un- 
righteousness." (2 Thess. ii. 7-12.) 

Yes; the day that the rich, well-educated lady 
gives up her self-respect, and unconditionally sur- 
renders the citadel of womanly modesty into the 
hands of a man, whatever be his name or titles, 
that he may freely put to her questions of the vilest 
character, which she must answer, she is lost and 
degraded, just as if she were the humblest and 
poorest servant-girl. 

I purposely say "the rich and well-educated 
woman," for I know that there is a prevalent opin- 
ion that the social position of her class places her 



106 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

above the corrupting influences of the confessional, 
as if she were out of the reach of the common mis- 
eries of our poor fallen and sinful nature. 

So long as the well-educated lady makes use oi 
her accomplishments to defend the citadel of her 
womanly self-respect against the foe — so long as 
she sternly keeps the door of her heart shut against 
her deadly enemy — she is safe. 

But let no one forget this : she is safe only so- 
long as she does not surrender. When the enemy 
is once master of the place, I emphatically repeat, 
the ruinous consequences are as great, if not greater, 
and more irreparable than in the lowest classes of 
society. Throw a piece of precious gold into the 
mud, and tell me if it will not plunge deeper than 
the piece of rotten wood. 

What woman could be nobler, purer, and stronger 
than Eve when she came from the hands of her 
Divine Creator ? But how quickly she fell when 
she gave ear to the seducing voice of the tempter ! 
How irreparable was her ruin when she complac- 
ently looked on the forbidden fruit, and believed 
the lying voice which told her there was " no sin " 
in eating of it ! 

I solemnly, in the presence of the great God, 
who ere long, will judge me, give my testimony on 
this grave subject. After 25 years' experience in 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 10T 

the confessional, I declare that the confessor him- 
self encounters more terrible dangers when hearing 
the confessions of refined and highly educated 
ladies, than when listening to those of the humbler 
classes of his female penitents. 

I solemnly testify that the well-educated lady, 
when she has once surrendered herself to the power 
of her confessor, becomes at least as vulnerable to 
the arrows of the enemy as the poorer and less 
educated. Nay, I must say that, once on the down- 
hill road of perdition, the high-bred lady runs 
headlong into the pit with a more deplorable rapid- 
ity than her humbler sister. 

All Canada is witness that a few years ago, it 
was among the highest ranks of society that the 
Grand Yicar Superior of the college of Montreal, 
was choosing his victims, when the public cry of 
indignation and shame forced the Bishop to send 
him back to Europe, where he, soon after, died. 
Was it not also among the higher classes of society 
that a superior of the Seminary of Quebec was 
destroying souls, when he was detected, and forced, 
during a dark night, to fly and conceal himself 
behind the walls of the Trappist Monastery of 
Iowa ? 

Many would be the folio volumes which I should 
have to write, were I to publish all that rvr tw< -ty- 



108 THE PRIEST WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL - 

five years' experience in the confessional lias taugtiu 
me of the unspeakable secret corruption of the 
greatest part of the so-called respectable ladies, who 
have unconditionally surrendered themselves into 
the hands of their holy (?) confessors. But the 
following fact will suffice for those who have eyes 
to see, ears to hear, and an intelligence to under- 
stand : — 

In one of the most beautiful and thriving towns 
along the St. Lawrence River, lived a rich mer- 
chant. He was young, and his marriage with a 
most lovely, rich, and accomplished young lady 
had made him one of the happiest men in the land. 

A few years after his marriage, the Bishop ap- 
pointed to that town a young priest, really remark- 
able for his eloquence, zeal, and amiable qualities ; 
and the merchant and the priest soon became con- 
nected by links of the most sincere friendship. 

The young, accomplished wife of the merchant 
soon became the model woman of the place under 
the direction of her new confessor. 

Many and long were the hours she used to pass 
by the side of her spiritual father to be purified 
and enlightened by his godly advices. She soon 
was seen at the head of the few who had the priv- 
ilege of receiving the holy communion once a week. 
The husband, who was a good Roman Catholic 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 109 

himself, blessed God and the Virgin Mary, that 
he had the privilege of living with such an ange? 
of piety. 

Nobody had the least suspicion of what was 
going on under that holy and white mantle of the 
most exalted piety. Nobody, except God and His 
angels, could hear the questions put by the priest 
to his fair penitent, and the answers made during 
the long hours of their tSte-a-tete in the confession- 
al-box. Nobody but God could see the hellish 
fires which were devouring the hearts of the con- 
fessor and his victim ! For nearly one year, both 
the young priest and his spiritual patient enjoyed, 
in those intimate and secret conversations, all the 
pleasure which L>vers feel when they can speak 
freely to each other of their secret thoughts and 
love. 

But this was not enough for them. They both 
wanted something more real ; though the dim* 
culties were great, and seemed insurmountable. 
The priest had his mother and sister with him, 
whose eyes were too sharp to allow him to invite 
the lady to his own house for any criminal object, 
and the young husband had no business, at a dis- 
tance, which could keep him long enough out of 
his happy home to allow the Pope's confessor to 
accomplish his diabolical designs. 



110 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

But when a poor fallen daughter of Eve has a 
mind to do a thing, she very soon finds the means, 
particularly if high education has added to her 
natural shrewdness. 

And in this case, as in many others of a similar 
nature which have been revealed to me, she soon 
found out how to attain her object without compro- 
mising herself or her holy (?) confessor. A plan 
was soon found and cordially agreed to ; and both 
patiently awaited their opportunity. 

"Why have you not gone to mass to-day and 
received the holy communion, my dear?" said the 
husband. " I had ordered the servant-man to put 
the horse in the buggy for you, as usual." 

" I am not very well, my beloved ; I have passed 
a sleepless night from headache." 

c ' I will send for the physician, ' ' replied the hus- 
band. 

' ' Yes, my dear ; do send for the physician— 
perhaps he will do me good." 

One hour after the physician called, and he found 
his fair patient a little feverish, pronounced that 
there was nothing serious, and that she would soon 
"be well. He gave her a little powder, to be taken 
three times a day, and left ; but at 9 P. M. , she 
complained of a great pain in the chest, and soon 
fainted and fell on the floor. 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. Ill 

The doctor was again immediately sent for, but 
he was from home ; it took nearly half an hour 
before he could come. When he arrived the alarm- 
ing crisis was over — she was sitting in an arm-chair, 
with some neighboring women, who were applying 
cold water and vinegar to her forehead. 

The physician was really at a loss what to say of 
the cause of such a sudden illness. At last, he said 
that it might be an attack of " ver solitaire " (tape- 
worm). He declared that it was not dangerous ; 
that he knew how to cure her. He ordered some 
new powder to be taken, and left, after having 
promised to return the next day. Half an hour 
after, she began to complain of a most terrible pain 
in her chest, and fainted again ; but before doing 
so, she said to her husband: — 

" My dear, you see that the physician under- 
stands absolutely nothing of the nature of my dis- 
ease. I have not the least confidence in him, for 
I feel that his powders make me worse. I do not 
want to see him any more. I suffer more than you 
suspect, my beloved ; and if there is not soon a 
change, I may be dead to-morrow. The only 
physician I want is our holy confessor ; please make 
haste to go and get him. I want to make a general 
confession, and to receive the holy viaticum (com- 
munion) and extreme unction before I grow worse.' ! 



112 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

Beside himself with anxiety, the distracted hus- 
band ordered the horse to be put in the buggy, and 
made his servant accompany him on horseback, 
to ring the bell, while his pastor carried " the good 
god" (Le Bon Dieu) to his dear sick wife. 

He found the priest piously reading his breviar- 
ium (his book of daily prayers), and admired the 
charity and promptitude with which his good pas- 
tor, in that dark and chilly night, was ready to 
leave his warm and comfortable parsonage at the 
first appeal of the sick. In less than an hour, the 
husband had taken the priest with "the good god * 
from the church to the bedroom of his wife. 

All along the way, the servant-man had rung a 
big hand-bell, to awaken the sleeping farmers, who, 
at the noise, had to jump, half naked, out of their 
beds, and worhip, on their knees, with their faces 
prostrate in the dust, " the good god " which was 
being carried to the sick by the holy (?) priest. 

On his arrival, the confessor, with every appear- 
ance of sincere piety, deposited "the good god" 
(Le Bon Dim) on a table richly prepared for such 
a solemn occasion, and, approaching the bed, 
leaned his head towards his penitent, and inquired 
how she felt. 

She answered him, " I am very sick, and I want 
to make a general confession before 1 die,'' 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 113 

Speaking to her husband, she said, with a faint- 
ing voice, "Please, my dear, tell my friends to 
withdraw from the room, that I may not be dis- 
tracted when making what may be my last confes- 
sion." 

The husband respectfully requested the friends 
to leave the room with him, and shut the door, that 
the holy confessor might be alone with his penitent 
during her general confession. 

One of the most diabolical schemes, under the 
cover of auricular confession, had perfectly suc- 
ceeded. The mother of harlots, the great enchan- 
tress of souls, whose seat is on the city of the 
" seven hills," had, there, her priest to bring; 
shame, disgrace, and damnation, under the mask 
of Christianity. 

The destroyer of souls, whose masterpiece is 
auricular confession, had, there, for the millionth 
time, a fresh opportunity of insulting the God of 
purity through one of the most criminal actions 
which the dark shades of night can conceal. 

But let us draw the veil over the abominations 
of that hour of iniquity, and let us leave to hell its 
dark secrets. 

After he had accomplished the ruin of his victim 
and most cruelly and sacrilegiously abused the con- 
fidence of his friend, the young priest opened the 



114 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

door of the room and said, with a sanctimonious 
air, " You may now enter to pray with me, while 
I give the last sacrament to our dear sick sister." 

They came in : " the good god " (Ze Bon Dieu) 
was given to the woman; and the husband, full of 
gratitude for the considerate attention of his priest, 
took him back to his parsonage, and thanked him 
most sincerely for having so kindly come to visit 
his wife in so chilly a night. 

Ten years later I was called to preach a retreat 
(a kind of revival) in that same parish. That lady, 
then an absolute stranger to me, came to my con- 
fessional-box and confessed to me those details as 
I now give them. She seemed to be really peni- 
tent, and I gave her absolution and the entire 
pardon of her sins, as my Church told me to do. 
On the last day of the revival, the merchant in- 
vited me to a grand dinner. Then it was that I 
came to know who my penitent had been. I must 
not forget to mention that she had confessed to me 
that, of her four children, the last three belonged 
to her confessor ! He had lost his mother, and, 
his sister having married, his parsonage had become 
more accessible to his fair penitents, many of whom 
had availed themselves of that opportunity to prac- 
tice the lessons they had learned in the confessional. 
The priest had been removed to a higher position, 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 115 

where he, more than ever, enjoyed the confidence 
of his superiors, the respect of the people, and the 
love of his female penitents. 

I never felt so embarrassed in my life as when at 
the table of that so cruelly victimised man. We 
had hardly begun to take our dinner when he asked 
me if I had known their late pastor, the amiable 

Rev. Mr. . 

I answered, u Yes, sir, I know him." 
" Is he not a most accomplished priest?" 
" Yes, sir, he is a most accomplished man," I 
answered. 

" Why is it," rejoined the good merchant, " that 
the Bishop has taken him away from us ? He was 
doing so well here ; he had so deservedly earned 
the confidence of all by his piety and gentlemanly 
manners that we made every effort to keep him 
with us. I drew up a petition myself, which all 
the people signed, to induce the Bishop to allow 
him to remain in our midst ; but in vain. His 
lordship answered us that he wanted him for a more 
important place, on account of his rare ability, and 
we had to submit. His zeal and devotedness knew 
no bounds ; in the darkest and most stormy nights 
he was always ready to come to the first call of the 
sick ; I shall never forget how quickly and cheer- 
fully he responded to my appeal when, a few years 



116 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

ago, I went, on one of our most chilly nights, to re- 
quest him to visit my wife, who was very sick." 

At this stage of the conversation, I must confess 
that I nearly laughed outright. The gratitude of 
that poor dupe of the confessional to the priest 
who had come to bring shame and destruction to 
his house, and the idea of that very man going 
himself to convey to his home the corruptor of his 
own wife, seemed to me so ludicrous that for a 
moment, I had to make a superhuman effort to 
control myself. 

But I was soon brought to my better senses by 
the shame which I felt at the idea of the unspeak- 
able degradation and secret infamy of the clergy of 
which I was a member. At that instant, hundreds 
of instances of similar, if not greater, depravity, 
which had been revealed to me through the con- 
fessional, came to my mind, and distressed and dis- 
gusted me so that my tongue was almost paralysed. 

After dinner, the merchant asked his lady to call 
the children that I might see them, and I could 
not but admire their beauty. But I do not need to 
say that the pleasure of seeing these dear and lovely 
little ones was much marred by the secret, though 
sure, knowledge I had, that the three youngest 
were the fruits of the unspeakable depravity of 
auricular confession in the higher ranks of society. 



CHAPTER VI. 

AURICULAR CONFESSION DESTROYS ALL THE SACRED 
TIES OF MARRIAGE AND HUMAN SOCIETY. 

WOULD the banker allow his priest to open, 
when alone, the safe of his bank, manipulate 
and examine his papers, and pry into the most se- 
cret details of his banking business ? 

No ! surely not. 

How is it then, that the same banker allows that 
priest to open the heart of his wife, manipulate her 
soul, and pry into the sacred chambers of her most 
intimate and secret thoughts? 

Are not the heart, the soul, the purity, and the 
self-respect of his wife as great and precious treas- 
ures as the safe of his bank ! Are not the risks 
and dangers of temptations, imprudences, indis- 
cretions, much greater and more irreparable in the 
second, than in the first case ? 

Would the jeweler or goldsmith allow his priest 
to come, when he pleases, and handle the rich 
.articles of his stores, ransack the desk where 



118 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

the money is deposited, and play with it as he 
pleases ? 

No ! surely not. 

But are not the heart, the soul, and the purity of 
his dear wife and daughter a thousandfold more 
valuable than his precious stones, or silver and 
gold wares ? Are not the dangers of temptation 
and indiscretions, on the part of the priest, more 
formidable and irresistible in the second, than in 
the first of these cases ? 

Would the livery man allow his priest to take 
his most valuable and unmanageable horses, when 
he wishes, and drive alone, without any other con- 
sideration and security than the discretion of his 
priest ? 

No ! surely not. 

That livery man knows that he would soon be 
ruined if he were to do so. Whatever may be his- 
confidence in the discretion, honesty, and prudence 
of his priest, he will never push his confidence so* 
far as to give him the unreserved control of the 
noble and fiery animals which are the glory of his 
stables and the support of his family. 

How then, can the same man trust the entire,, 
absolute management of his wife and dear daugh- 
ters to the control of that one, to whom he would 
not entrust his horses ? 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 119" 

Are not his wife and daughters as precious to 
him as those horses ? Is there not greater danger 
of indiscretions, mismanagement, irreparable and 
fatal errors on the part of the priest, dealing alone 
with his wife and daughters, than when driving 
horses ? No human act of folly, moral depravity, 
and want of common sense can equal the permis- 
sion given by a man to his wife to go and confess 
to the priest. 

That day, he abdicates the loyal — I had almost 
said divine — dignity of husband ; for it is from 
God that he holds it ; his cown is forever lost, 
his sceptre broken ! 

What would you do to any one mean enough to 
peep or listen through the key-hole of your door in 
order to hear or see anything that was said or done 
within ? Would you show so little self-respect as 
to tolerate such indiscretion ? Would you not 
rather take a whip or a cane, and drive away the 
villain ? Would you not even expose your life to 
free yourself from his impudent curiosity ? 

But what is the confessional if not the key-hole 
of your house and of your very chamber, through 
which the priest can hear and see your most secret 
words and actions ; nay, more, know your most 
intimate thoughts and aspirations. 

>re you worthy of the name of men when you 



120 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

submit yourselves to such sly and insulting inquisi- 
tion? Do you deserve the name of men, who con- 
sent to put up with such ignoble affront and humil- 
iation ? 

"The husband is the head of the wife even as 
Christ is the Head of the Church." " Therefore, 
as the Church is subject unto Christ, so let the 
wives be to their own husbands in everything " — 
{Eph. v). If these solemn words are the true 
oracles of divine wisdom, is not the husband di- 
vinely appointed the only adviser, counsellor, help 
of his wife, just as Christ is the only adviser, coun- 
sellor, and help of His Church ? 

If the Apostle was not an impostor when he said 
that the wife, is to her husband what the body is to 
the head, and that the husband is to his wife what 
the head is to the body — is not the husband ap- 
pointed by God to be the light, the guide, of his 
wife ? Is it not his duty, as well as his privilege 
and glory, to console her in her afflictions, strength- 
en her in her hours of weakness, keep her up when 
she is in danger of fainting, and encourage her 
when she is on the rough and uphill ways of life ? 

If Christ has not come to deceive the world 
through his Apostle, must not the wife go to her 
husband for advice ? Ought she not to expect from 
him, and him alone, after God, the light she wants 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 121 

and the consolation she is in need of ? Is it not to 
her husband, and to him alone, after God, she 
ought to look to in her days of trial for help ? Is 
it not under his leadership alone she must fight the 
battle of life and conquer ? Is not this mutual and 
daily sharing of the anzieties of life, this constant 
shouldering on the battle-field, and this reciprocal 
and mutual protection and help renewed at every 
hour of the day, which form, under the eyes and 
by the mercy of God, the holiest and the purest 
-charms of the married life? Is it not that unre- 
served confidence in each other which binds togeth- 
er those golden links of Christian love that make 
them happy in the very midst of the trials of life? 
Is it not through this mutual confidence alone that 
they are one as God wants them to be one f Is it 
not in this unity of thoughts, fears and hopes, joys 
and love, which come from God, that they can 
cheerfully cross the thorny valley, and safely reach 
the Promised land \ 

The Gospel says that the husband is to his wife 
what Christ is to His Church ! Is it not, then, a 
most sacrilegious iniquity for a wife to look to 
another rather than to her own husband for such 
advice, wisdom, strength, and life, as he is entitled, 
qualified, and ready to afford \ As no other man 
has the right to her love, so no other man has any 



122 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

right to her absolute confidence. As she becomes 
an adulteress the day that she gives her body to 
another man, is she any the less an adulteress the 
day that she gives her confidence and trusts her 
soul to a stranger? The adultery of the heart and 
soul is not less criminal than the adultery of the 
oody ; and every time the wife goes to the feet of 
the priest to confess, does she not become guilty 
of that iniquity ? 

In the Church of Rome, through the confes- 
sional, the priest is much more the husband of the 
wife than the man to whom she was wedded at the 
foot of the altar. The priest has the best part of 
the wife. He has the marrow, when the husband 
has the bones. He has the juice of the orange, 
the husband has the rind. He has the soul and 
the heart, the husband has the skeleton. He has 
the honey, the husband has the wax cell. He has 
the succulent oyster, the husband has the dry shell. 
As much as the soul is higher than the body, so- 
much are the power and privileges of the priest 
higher than the power and privileges of the hus- 
band in the mind of the penitent wife. As the 
husband is the lord of the body which he feeds, so 
the priest is the lord of the soul and the heart, 
which he also feeds. • The wife, thoji, has two lords 
and masters, whom she must love, respect and 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 12£ 

obey. Will she not give the best part of her love, 
respect, and submission to the one who, in her 
mind, is as much above the other as the heavens 
are above the earth I But as she cannot serve two 
masters together, will not the master who prepares 
and fits her for an eternal life of glory, certainly be 
the object of her constant, real, and most ardent 
love, gratitude, and respect, when the worldly and 
sinful man to whom she is married, will have only 
the appearance and the crumbs of those senti- 
ments ? Will she not naturally, instinctively serve, 
love, respect, and obey, as lord and master, the 
godly man, whose yoke is so light, so holy, so di- 
vine, rather than the carnal man, whose human 
imperfections are to her a source of daily trial and 
suffering ? 

In the Church of Rome, the thoughts and de- 
sires, the secret joys and fears of the soul, the very 
life of the wife, are sealed things to the husband. 
He has no right to look into the sanctuary of her 
heart ; he has no remedy to apply to the soul ; he 
has no mission from God to advise her in the dark 
hours of her anxieties ; lie has no balm to apply to 
the bleeding wounds, so often received in the daily 
battles of life ; he must remain a perfect stranger 
in his own house. 

The wife, expecting nothing from her husband, 



124 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

lias no revelation to make to hitn, no favor to ask, 
no debt of gratitude to pay. Nay, she shuts all 
the avenues of her soul, all the doors and windows 
of her heart, against her husband. The priest, 
and the priest alone, has a right to her entire con- 
fidence ; to him, and him alone, she will go and 
reveal all her secrets, show all her wounds ; to him, 
and him alone, she will turn her mind, her heart 
and soul, in the hour of trouble and anxiety ; from 
him, and him, alone, she will ask and expect the 
light and consolation she wants. Every day, more 
and more, her husband will become a stranger to 
her, if he does not become a real nuisance, and an 
obstacle to her happiness and peace. 

Yes, through the confessional, an unfathomable 
abyss has been dug by the Church of Rome, be- 
tween the heart of the wife and the heart of the 
husband. Their bodies may be very near each 
other, but their souls, their real affections and their 
confidence are at greater distance than the north 
is from the south pole of the earth. The confessor 
is the master, the ruler, the king of the soul ; the 
husband, as the graveyard-keeper, must be satisfied 
with the carcass ! 

The husband has the permission to look on the 
outside of the palace ; he is allowed to rest his head 
■on the cold marble of the outdoor steps ; but the 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 125 

confessor triumphantly walks into the mysterious- 
starry rooms, examines at leisure their numberless 
and unspeakable wonders ; and, alone, he is allowed 
to rest his head on the soft pillows of the un- 
bounded confidence, respect, and love of the wife. 

In the Church of Rome, if the husband ask a 
favor from his wife, nine times in ten she will in- 
quire from her father confessor whether or not she 
can grant him his request ; and the poor husband 
will have to wait patiently for the permission of the 
master, or the rebuke of the lord, according to the 
answer of the oracle which had to be consulted ! 
If he gets impatient under the yoke, and murmurs, 
the wife will, soon, go to the feet of her confessor, 
to tell him how she has the misfortune to be united 
to a most unreasonable man, and how she has to 
suffer from him ! She reveals to her ' ' dear father ' ' 
how she is unhappy under such a yoke, and how 
her life would be an insupportable burden, had she 
not the privilege and happiness of coming often to 
his feet, to lay down her sorrows, hear his sympa- 
thetic words, and get his so affectionate and pater- 
nal advice ! She tells him, with tears of gratitude, 
that it is only when by his side, and at his feet, 
she finds rest to her weary soul, balm to her bleed- 
ing heart, and peace to her troubled conscience. 

When she comes from the confessional, her ears 



126 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

are long filled as with a heavenly music : the hon- 
ied words of her confessor ring for many days in 
her heart : she feels it lonesome to be separated 
from him : his image is constantly before her mind, 
and the souvenir of his amiabilities is one of her 
most pleasant thoughts. There is nothing which 
she likes so much as to speak of his good qualities, 
his patience, his piety, his charity ; she longs for 
the day when she will again go to confess and pass 
a few hours by the side of that angelic man, in 
opening to him all the secrets of her heart, and in 
revealing all her ennuis. She tells him how she 
regrets that she cannot come oftener to see him, 
and receive the benefits of his charitable counsels ; 
she does not even conceal from him how often, in 
her dreams, she feels too happy to be with him ! 
More and more every day the gap between her and 
her husband widens. More and more each day she 
regrets that she has not the happiness to be the 
wife of such a holy man as her confessor ! Oh ! if 

it were possible ! But then, she blushes or 

smiles, and sings a song. 

Then again, I ask, Who is the true lord, ruler, 
and master in that house? For whom does that 
heart beat and live ? 

Thus it is that that stupendous imposture, the 
'dogma of auricular confession, does completely 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 127 

destroy all the links, the joys, the responsibilities, 
and divine privileges of the married life, and trans- 
forms it into a life of perpetual, though disguised, 
adultery. It becomes utterly impossible, in the 
Church of Rome, that the husband should be one 
with his wife, and that the wife should be one with 
her husband : a " monstrous being'' has been put 
between them both, called the confessor. Born in 
the darkest ages of the world, that being has received 
from hell his mission to destroy and contaminate the 
purest joys of the married life, to enslave the wife, 
to outrage the husband, and to damn the world ! 
The more auricular confession is practiced, the 
more the laws of public and private morality are 
trampled under foot. The husband wants his wife 
to be his — he does not, and could not, consent to 
share his authority over her with anybody : he 
wants to be the only man who will have her confi- 
dence and her heart, as well as her respect and love. 
And so, the very moment that he anticipates the 
dark shadow of the confessor coming between him 
and the woman of his choice, he prefers to shrink 
from entering into the sacred bond ; the holy joys 
of home and family lose their divine attractions ; 
he prefers the cold life of an ignominious celibacy 
to the humiliation and opprobium of the question- 
able privileges of an uncertain paternity. 



128 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

France, Spain, and many other Roman Catholic 
countries, thus witness the multitude of those bach- 
elors increasing every year. The number of fam- 
ilies and births, in consequence, is fast decreasing 
in their midst ; and, if God does not perform a 
miracle to stop these nations in their downward 
course, it is easy to calculate the day when they will 
owe their existence to the tolerance and pity of the 
mighty Protestant nations which surround them. 

Why is it that the Irish Roman Catholic people 
are so irreparably degraded and clothed in rags? 
Why is it that that people, whom God has endowed 
with so many noble qualities, seem to be so de- 
prived of intelligence and self-respect that they 
glory in their own shame ? Why is it that their 
land has been for centuries the land of bloody riots 
and cowardly murders ? The principal cause is the 
enslaving of the Irish women, by means of the 
confessional. Every one knows that the spiritual 
slavery and degradation of the Irish woman has no 
bounds. After she has been enslaved and degraded, 
she, in turn, has enslaved and degraded her hus- 
band and her sons. Ireland will be an object of 
pity ; she will be poor, miserable, riotous, blood- 
thirsty, degraded, so long as she rejects Christ, to- 
be ruled by the father confessor, planted in every 
parish by the Pope. 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL 129 

Who lias not been amazed and saddened Vy the 
downfall of France? How is it that her once so 
mighty armies have melted away, that Ler brave 
sons have so easily been conquered and disarmed ? 
How is it that France, fallen powerless at the feet 
of her enemies, has frightened the wo/ld by the 
spectacle of the incredible, bloody, and savage fol- 
lies of the Commune ? Do not look for the causes 
of the downfall, humiliation, and untold miseries of 
France anywhere else than in the confessional. 
For centuries has not that great country obstinately 
rejected Christ ? Has she not slaughtered or sent 
into extfe her noblest children, who wanted to 
follow the Gospel ? Has she not given her fair 
daughters into the hands of the confessors, who 
have defiled and degraded them? How could 
woman, in France, teach her husband and sons to 
love liberty, and die for it, when she was herself a 
miserable, an abject slave ? How could she form 
her husband and sons to the manly virtues of 
heroes, when her own mind was defiled and her 
heart corrupted by the priest ? 

The French woman had unconditionally surren- 
dered the noble and fair citadel of her heart, intel- 
ligence, and womanly self-respect into the hands of 
her confessor long before her sons surrendered 
their swords to the Germans at Sedan and Paris. 



130 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

The first unconditional surrender had brought the 
second. 

The complete moral destruction of woman by the 
confessor in France has been a long work. It has 
required centuries to bow down, break, and en- 
slave the noble daughters of France. Yes ; but 
those who know France, know that that destruction 
is now as complete as it is deplorable. The down- 
fall of woman in France, and her supreme degrada- 
tion through the confessional, is now un fait 
accompli, which nobody can deny ; the highest 
intellects have seen and confessed it. One of the 
most profound thinkers of that unfortunate country, 
Michelet, has depicted that supreme and irretriev- 
able degradation in a most eloquent book, " The 
Priest, The Woman, The Family ;" and not a voice 
has been raised to deny or refute what he has said. 
Those who have any knowledge of history and 
philosophy know very well that the moral degrada- 
tion of the woman is soon followed everywhere by 
the moral degradation of the nation, and the moral 
degradation of the nation is very soon followed by 
ruin and overthrow. 

The French nation had been formed by God to 
^e a race of giants. They were chivalrous and 
brave ; they had bright intelligences, stout hearts, 
strong arms and a mighty sword. But as the hard- 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 131 

est granite rock yields and breaks under the drop 
of water which incessantly falls upon it, so that 
great nation had to break and to fall into pieces 
under, not the drop, but the rivers of impure waters 
which, for centuries, have incessantly flowed in 
upon it from the pestilential fountain of the confes- 
sional. % " Kighteousness exalteth a nation, but sin 
vs a reproach to any people." (Proverbs xiv.) 

In the sudden changes and revolutions of these 
latter days, France is also sharing ; and the Church 
of Kome has received a blow there, which, though 
perhaps only temporary in its character, will help 
to awaken the people to the corruption and fraud 
of the priesthood. 

Why is it that Spain is so miserable, so weak, so 
poor, so foolishly and cruelly tearing her own 
bosom, and reddening her fair valleys with the 
blood of her own children ? The principal, if not 
the only, cause of the downfall of that great nation 
is the confessional. There, also, the confessor has 
defiled, degraded, enslaved women, and women in 
turn have defiled and degraded their husbands and 
sons. Women have sown broadcast over their 
country the seeds of that slavery, of that want of 
Christian honesty, justice, and self-respect with 
which they had themselves been first imbued in the 
confessional. 



132 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

But when you see, without a single exception, 
the nations whose women drink the impure and 
poisonous waters, which flow from the confessional, 
sinking down so rapidly, do you not wonder how 
fast the neighboring nations, who have destroyed 
those dens of impurity, prostitution, and abject 
slavery, are rising up ? What a marvellous con- 
trast is before our eyes ? On one side, the nations 
who allow the women to be degraded and enslaved 
at the feet of her confessor — France, Spain, Romish 
Ireland, Mexico, &c, &c. — are, there, fallen into 
the dust, bleeding, struggling, powerless, like the 
sparrow whose entrails are devoured by the vulture. 

On the other side, see how the nations whose 
women go to wash their robes in the blood of the 
Lamb, are soaring up, as on eagle wings, in the 
highest regions of progress, peace, and liberty ! 

If legislators could once understand the respect 
and protection they owe to women, they would 
soon, by stringent laws, prohibit auricular confes- 
sion as contrary to good mopals and the welfare of 
society ; for, though the advocates of auricular con- 
fession have succeeded, to a certain extent, in 
blinding the public, and in concealing the abomi- 
nations of the system under a lying mantle of holi- 
ness and religion, it is nothing else than a school 
of impurity. 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 135 

1 say more than that. After twenty-five years 
of hearing the confessions of the common people 
and of the highest classes of society, of the laymen 
and the priests, of the grand vicars and bishops 
and the nuns ; I conscientiously say before the 
world, that the immorality of the confessional is of 
a more dangerous and degrading nature than that 
which we attribute to the social evil of our great 
cities. The injury caused to the intelligence and 
to the soul in the confessional, as a general rule, is 
of a more dangerous nature and more irremediable, 
because it is neither suspected nor understood by 
its victims. 

The unfortunate woman who lives an immoral 
life knows her profound misery ; she often blushes 
and weeps over her degradation ; she hears, from 
every side, voices which call her out of those ways 
of perdition. Almost at every hour of day and 
night, .the cry of her conscience warns her against 
the desolation and suffering of an eternity passed 
far away from the regions of holiness, light, and 
life. All those things are often so many means of 
grace, in the hands of our merciful God, to awaken 
the mind, and to save the guilty soul. But in the 
confessional the poison is administered under the 
name of a pure and refreshing water ; the deadly 
blow is inflicted by a sword so well oiled that the 



134 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

wound is not felt ; the vilest and most impure 
notions and thoughts, in the form of questions and 
answers, are presented and accepted as the bread 
of life ! All the notions of modesty, purity, and 
womanly self-respect and delicacy, are set aside 
and forgotten to propitiate the god of Rome. In 
the confessional the woman is told, and she be- 
lieves, that there is no sin for her in hearing things 
which would make the vilest blush — no sin to say 
things which would make the most desperate villain. 
on the streets of London to stagger — no sin to con- 
verse with her confessor on matters so filthy that, 
if attempted in civil life, would forever exclude the 
perpetrator from the society of the virtuous. 

Yes, the soul and the intelligence defiled and 
destroyed in the confessional are often hopelessly 
defiled and destroyed. They are sinking into a 
complete, an irretrievable perdition ; for, not know- 
ing the guilt, they will not cry for mercy — not sus- 
pecting the fatal disease that is being fostered, they- 
will not call for the true Physician. It was, evi- 
dently, when thinking of the unspeakable ruin 
of the souls of men through the wickedness cul- 
minating in the Pope's confessors, that the Son 
of God said: — " If the blind lead the blind,, 
both shall fall into the ditch. " To every woman,, 
with very few exceptions, coming out from the feet 



THE PKIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 135 

of her confessor, the children of light may say : — 
"I know thy works, that thou hast a name that 
thou livest, but thou art dead — (Revelations iii.). 

Nobody has yet been, nor ever will be able to 
answer the few following lines, which I addressed 
some years ago to the Rev. Mr. Bruyere, Roman 
Catholic Vicar-General of London, Canada : — 

" With a blush on my face, and regret in my 
heart, I confess, before God and man, that I have 
been like you, and with you, through the confes- 
sional, plunged for twenty-five years in that bot- 
tomless sea of iniquity, in which the blind priests 
of Rome have to swim day and night. 

" I had to learn by heart, like you, the infamous 
questions which the Church of Rome forces every 
priest to learn. I had to put those impure, im- 
moral questions to old and young females, who 
were confessing their sins to me. These questions 
— you know it — are of such a nature that no prosti- 
tute would dare to put them to another. Those 
questions, and the answers they elicit, are so debas- 
ing that no man in London — you know it — except 
a priest of Rome, is sufficiently lost to every sense 
of shame, as to put them to any woman. 

" Yes, I was bound, in conscience, as you are 
bound to-day, to put into the ears, the mind, the 
imagination, the memory, the heart and soul of 



136 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

females, questions of such a nature, the direct and 
immediate tendency of which — you know it well — 
is to till the minds and the hearts of both priests 
and female penitents with thoughts, phantoms, and 
temptations of such a degrading nature, that I do 
not know any words adequate to express them. 
Pagan antiquity has never seen any institution more 
polluting than the confessional. I know nothing 
more corrupting than the law which forces a female 
to tell her thoughts, desires, and most secret feel- 
ings and actions to an unmarried priest. The con- 
fessional is a school of perdition. You may deny 
that before the Protestants ; but you cannot deny 
it before me. My dear Mr. Bruyere, if you call 
me a degraded man, because I have liVed twenty- 
five years in the atmosphere of the confessional, 
you are right. I was a degraded man, just as your- 
self and all the priests are to-day, in spite of your 
denegations. If you call me a degraded man be- 
cause my soul, my mind, and my heart were, as 
your own are to-day, plunged into the deep waters 
of iniquity which flow from the confessional, I 
confess, J Guilty ! ' I was degraded and polluted 
by the confessional, just as you and all the priests 
of Rome are. 

u It has required the whole bb,od of the great 
Victim, who died on Calvary for sinners, to purify 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 137 

me ; and I pray that, through the same blood, you 
may be purified also.*' 

If the legislators knew the respect and protection 
they owe to women — I repeat it — they would, by 
the most stringent laws, prohibit auricular confes- 
sion as a crime against society. 

Xot long ago, a printer in England was sent to 
jail and severely punished for having published in 
English the questions put by the priest to the wom- 
en in the confessional ; and the sentence was equit- 
able, for all who will read those questions will 
conclude that no girl or woman who brings her 
mind into contact with the contents of that book 
can escape from moral death. But what are the 
priests of Rome doing in the confessional ? Do 
they not pass the greatest part of their time in 
questioning females, old and young, and hearing 
their answers, on those very matters? If it were 
a crime, punishable by law, to present those ques- 
tions in a book, is it not a crime far more punishable 
by law to present those very things to married and 
unmarried women through the auricular confession? 

I ask it from every man of common sense. AVhat 
is the difference between a woman or a girl learn- 
ing those things in a book, or learning them from 
the lips of a man ? Will not those impure, demor- 
alizing suggestions sink more deeply into their 



138 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

minds, and impress themselves more forcibly in 
their memory, when told to them by a man of au- 
thority speaking in the name of Almighty God, 
than when read in a book which has no authority ? 
I say to the legislators of Europe and America, 
"Head for yourselves those horrible, unmention- 
able things ;" and remember that the Pope has 
more than 100,000 priests whose principal work is 
to put those very things into the intelligence and 
memory of the women whom they entrap into their 
snares. Let us suppose that each priest hears the 
confessions of only live female penitents every day 
(though we know that the daily average is ten) : 
it gives the awful number of 500,000 women whom 
the priests of Eome have the legal right to pollute 
and destroy each day of the year ! 

Legislators of the so-called Christian and civil- 
ized nations ! I ask it again from you, Where is 
your consistency, your justice, your love of public 
morality, when you punish so severely the man 
w T ho has printed the questions put to the woman in 
the confessional, while you honor and let free, and 
often pay the men whose public and private life is 
spent in spreading the very same moral poison in a 
much more efficacious, scandalous, and shameful 
way, under the mask of religion ! 

The confessional is in the hands of the devil,. 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 13£ 

what West Point is to the United States, and Wool- 
wich is to great Britain, a training of the army to 
fight and conquer the enemy. It is in the confes- 
sional that 500,000 women every day, and 182,- 
000,000 every year, are trained by the Pope in the 
art of fighting against God, by destroying them- 
selves and the whole world, through every imagin- 
able kind of impurity and filthiness. 

Once more, I request the legislators, the hus- 
bands, and the fathers in Europe, as well as in 
America and Australia, to read in Dens, Liguori, 
Debreyne, in every theological book of Home, 
what their wives and their daughters have to learn 
in the confessional. 

In order to screen themselves, the priests of 
Rome have recourse to the following miserable sub- 
terfuge : — " Is not the physician forced," they say, 
"to perforin certain delicate operations on women I 
Do you complain of this ? No ! you let the phy- 
sician alone ; you do not abuse them in their ardu- 
ous and conscientious duties. Why, then, should 
you insult the physician of the soul, the confessor, 
in the accomplishment of his holy, though delicate 
duties?" 

I answer, first, The art and science of the physi- 
cian are approved and praised in many parts of the 
(Scriptures. But the art and science of the confcs- 



140 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

sor are nowhere to be found in the holy records. 
Auricular confession is nothing else than a most 
stupendous imposture. The filthy and impure 
questions of the confessor, with the polluting an- 
swers they elicit, were put among the most diabol- 
ical and forbidden actions by God Himself, the day 
that the Spirit of Truth, Holiness, and Life wrote 
the imperishable words — "Let no corrupt commu- 
nication proceed out of your mouth." (Eph. iv. 29.) 

Secondly, The physician is not bound by a sol- 
emn oath to remain ignorant of the things which it 
will be his duty to examine and cure. But the 
priest of Rome is bound, by the most ridiculous and 
impious oath of celibacy, to remain ignorant of the 
very things which are the daily objects of his in- 
quiries, observation, and thoughts ! The priest of 
Rome has sworn never to taste of the fruits with 
w T hich he feeds his imagination, his memory, his 
heart, and his soul day and night ! The physician 
is honest in the performance of his duties ; but the 
priest of Rome becomes, in fact, a perjured man, 
every time he enters the confessional-box. 

Thirdly, If a lady has a little sore on her small 
finger, and is obliged to go to the physician for a 
remedy, she has only to show her little finger, allow 
the plaster or ointment to be applied, and all is 
finished. The physician never — no never — says to 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. lil 

that lady, "It is my duty to suspect that you have 
many other parts of your body which are sick; I 
am bound in conscience, under pain of death, to 
examine you from head to foot, in order to save 
your precious life from those secret diseases, which 
may kill you if they are not cured just now. Sev- 
eral of those diseases are of such a nature that you 
never dared perhaps to examine them with the 
attention they deserve, and you are hardly conscious 
of them. I know, madam, that this is a very pain- 
ful and delicate thing for both you and me, that I 
should be forced to make that thorough examina- 
tion of your person ; however, there is no help ; I 
am in duty bound to do it. But you have nothing 
te fear. I am a holy man, who have made a vow 
of celibacy. We are alone ; neither your husband 
nor your father will ever know the secret infirmities 
I may find in you : they will never even suspect 
the perfect investigation I will make, and they will, 
forever, be ignorant of the remedy I will apply." 

Has any physician ever been authorized to speak 
or act in this way with any of his female patients I 
No, — never ! never ! 

But this is just the way the spiritual .physician,. 
by whom the devil enslaves and corrupts women, 
acts. When the fair, honest, and timid spiritual 
patient has come to her confessor, to show him the 



142 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

little sore she has on the small finger of Tier soul, 
the confessor is hound in conscience to suspect that 
she has other sores — secret, shameful sores ! Yes, 
he is bound, nine times out of ten ; and he is 
always allowed to suppose that she does not dare to 
reveal them ! Then he is advised by the Church 
to induce her to let him search every corner of the 
heart, and of the soul, and to inquire about all 
kinds of contaminations, impurities, secret, shame- 
ful, and unspeakable matters ! The young priest 
is drilled in the diabolical art of going into the 
most sacred recesses of the soul and the heart, 
almost in spite of his penitents. I could bring 
hundreds of theologians as witnesses to the truth of 
what I here say : but it is enough just now to cite 
three: — 

" Lest the confessor should indolently hesitate 
in tracing out the circumstances of any sin, let him 
have the following versicle of circumstances in read- 
iness : 

" Quis, quid, ubi, quibus auxiliis, cur, quomodo, 
quando. Who, which, where, with whom, why, 
how, when." (Dens, vol. 6, p. 123. Liguori, 
vol. 2, p. 464.) 

The celebrated book of the Priests, " The Mir- 
ror of the Clergy," page 357, says: 

M Oportet ut Confessor solet cognoscere quid quid 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 143 

debet judicare. Deligens igitur inquisitor et sub- 
tillls investigator sapienter, quasi astute, interrogat 
a peccatore quod ignorat, vel verecundia volit oc- 
cultare." 

" It is necessary that the confessor should know 
everything on which he has to exercise his judg- 
ment. Let him then, with wisdom and subtility, 
interrogate the sinners on the sins which they may 
ignore, or conceal through shame !" 

The poor unprotected girl is, thus, thrown into 
the power of the priest, soul and body, to be ex- 
amined on all the sins she may ignore, or which, 
through shame, she may conceal ! On what a 
boundless sea of depravity the poor fragile bark is 
launched by the priest ! On what bottomless 
abysses of impurities she will have to pass and 
travel, in company with the priest alone, before he 
will have interrogated her on all the. sins she may 
ignore, or which she may have concealed through 
shame ! ! Who can tell the sentiments of surprise, 
shame, and distress, of a timid, honest, young girl, 
when, for the first time, she is initiated, through 
those questions, to infamies which are ignored even 
in houses of prostitution ! ! ! 

But such is the practice, the sacred duty of the 
spiritual physician. "Let him (the priest confes- 
sor), with wisdom and subtlety, interrogate the 



144 

sinners on the sins they may Ignore or conceal 
through shame." 

And there are more than 100,000 men, not only 
allowed, but petted, and often paid by so-called 
Protestant, Christian, and civilised governments to 
do that under the name of the God of the Gospel ! 
. Fourthly, I answer to the sophism of the priest : 
When the physician has any delicate and danger- 
ous operation to perform on a female patient, he is 
never alone ; the husband, or the father, the moth- 
er, the sister, or some friends of the patient are 
there, whose scrutinising eyes and attentive ears 
make it impossible for the physician to say or do 
any improper thing. 

But when the poor, deluded spiritual patient 
comes to be treated by her so-called spiritual physi- 
cian, and shows him her disease, is she not alone — 
shamefully alone — with him ? Where are the pro- 
tecting ears of the husband, the father, the mother, 
the sisters, or the friends 1 Where is the barrier 
interposed between this sinful, weak, tempted, and 
often depraved man and his victim ? 

Would the priest so freely ask this and that from 
a married woman, if he knew that her husband 
could hear him ? No, surely not ! for he is well 
aware that the enraged husband would blow out the 
brains of the villian who, under the sacrilegious 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 145 

pretext of purifying the soul of his wife, is filling 
her breast with every kind of pollution and infamy. 

Fifthly, When the physician performs a delicate 
operation on one of his female patients, the oper- 
ation is usually accompanied with pain, cries, and 
often with bloodshed. The sympathetic and hon- 
est physician suffers almost as much pain as his pa- 
tient; those cries, acute pains, tortures, and bleed- 
ing wounds make it morally impossible that the 
physician should be tempted to any improper thing. 

But the sight of the spiritual wounds of that fair 
penitent! Is the poor depraved human heart 
really sorry to see and examine them? Oh, no! it 
is just the contrary. 

The dear Saviour weeps over those wounds; the 
angels are distressed at the sight. Yes ! But the 
deceitful and corrupt heart of man! is it not rather 
apt to be pleased at the sight of wounds which are 
so much like the ones he has himself so often been 
pleased to receive from the hand of the enemy? 

Was the heart of David pained and horror-struck 
at the sight of the fair Bathsheba, when, impru- 
dently, and too freely, exposed in her bath? Was 
not that holy prophet smitten, and brought down 
to the dust, by that guilty look? Was not the 
mighty giant, Samson, undone by the charms of 
Delilah? Was not the wise Solomon ensnared and 



146 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

befooled in the midst of the women by whom he 
was surrounded? 

Who will believe that the bachelors of the Pope 
are made of stronger metal than the Davids, the 
Samsons and the Solomons? Where is the man 
who has so completely lost his common sense as to 
believe that the priests of Rome are stronger than 
Samson, holier than David, wiser than Solomon? 
Who will believe that confessors will stand up on 
their feet amidst the storms which prostrate in the 
dust those giants of the armies of the Lord? To 
suppose that, in the generality of cases, the confes- 
sor can resist the temptations by which he is daily 
surrounded in the confessional, that he will con- 
stantly refuse the golden opportunities, which offer 
themselves to him, to satisfy the almost irresistible 
propensities of his fallen human nature, is neither 
wisdom nor charity; it is simply folly. 

I do not say that all the confessors and their fe- 
male penitents fall into the same degree of abject 
degradation; thanks be to God, I have known sev- 
eral, who nobly fought their battles, and conquered 
€ii that field of so many shameful defeats. But 
these are the exceptions. It is just as when the 
iire has ravaged one of our grand forests of Amer- 
ica — how sad it is to see the numberless noble trees 
fallen under the devouring element ! But, here 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 147 

-and there, the traveler is not a little amazed and 
pleased, to find some which have proudly stood the 
fiery trial, without being consumed. 

Was not the world at large struck with terror, 
when they heard of the fire which, a few years ago, 
reduced the great city of Chicago to ashes! But 
those who have visited that doomed city, and seen 
the desolating ruins of her 16,000 houses, had to 
stand in silent admiration before a few, which, in 
the very midst of an ocean of fire, had escaped un- 
touched by the destructive element. 

It is a fact, that owing to a most marvelous pro- 
tection of God, some privileged souls, here and 
there, do escape the fatal destruction which over- 
takes so many others in the confessional. 

The confessional is like the spider's web. How 
many too unsuspecting Hies find death, when seek- 
ing rest on the beautiful framework of their deceit- 
ful enemy! How few escape! and this only after 
a most desperate struggle. See how the perfidious 
spider looks harmless in his retired, dark corner; 
how motionless he is; how patiently he waits for 
his opportunity! But look how quickly he sur- 
rounds his victim with his silky, delicate, and im- 
perceptible links! how mercilessly he sucks ' its 
blood and destroys its life ! 

What remains of the imprudent fly, after she has 



148 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

been entrapped into the nets of her foe? Nothing 
but a skeleton. So it is with your fair wife, your 
precious daughter; nine times out of ten, nothing; 
but a moral skeleton returns to you, after the Pope's 
black spider has been allowed to suck the very 
blood of her heart and soul. Let those who would 
be tempted to think that I exaggerate, read the 
following extracts from the memoirs of the Vener- 
able Scipio de Ricci, Roman Catholic Bishop of 
Pistoia and Prato, in Italy. They were published 
by the Roman Catholic Italian Government, to 
show to the world that some measures had to be 
taken, by the civil and ecclesiastical authorities, to 
prevent the nation from being entirely swept away 
by the deluge of corruption flowing from the con- 
fessional, even among the most perfect of Rome's 
followers, the monks and the nuns. The priests 
have never dared to deny a single iota of these ter- 
rible revelations. On page 115 we read the follow* 
ing letter from sister Flavia Peraccini, Prioress of 
St. Catharine, to Dr. Thomas Camparina, Rector 
of the Episcopal Seminary of Pistoia: — 

" In compliance with the request which you made 
me this day, I hasten to say something, but I kno\V 
not how. 

" Of those who have gone out of the world, I shall 
say nothing. Of those who are still alive and have 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 149 

very little decency of conduct, there are many, 
among whom there is an ex-provincial named 
Father Dr. Ballendi, Calvi, Zoratti, Bigliaci, Guidi, 
Miglieti, Verde, Rianchi, Ducci, Seraphini, Bolla, 
Nera di Luca, Quaretti, &c. But wherefore any 
more? With the exception of three or four, all 
those whom I have ever known, alive or dead, are 
of the same character; they have all the same 
maxims and the same conduct. 

" They are on more intimate terms with the nuns 
than if they were married to them! I repeat it, it 
would require a great deal of time to tell half of 
what I know. It is the custom now, when they 
come to visit and hear the confession of a sick 
sister, to sup with the nuns, sing, dance, play, and 
sleep in the convent. It is a maxim of theirs that 
God has forbidden hatred, but not love; and that 
man is made for woman and woman for man. 

" I say that they can deceive the innocent and 
the most prudent and circumspect, and that it would 
be a miracle to converse with them and not fall!'' 

Page 117. — "The priests are the husbands of 
the nuns, and the lay brothers of the lay sisters. 
In the chamber of one of the nuns I have men- 
tioned, a man was one day found; he fled away* 
but, soon after, they gave him to us as our confes- 
sor extraordinary. 



150 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

"How many bishops are there in the Pa^al 
States who have come to the knowledge of those 
disorders, have held examinations and visitations, 
and yet never could remedy it, because the monks,, 
our confessors, tell us that those are excommuni- 
cated who reveal what passes in the Order! 

" Poor creatures ! they think they are leaving the 
world to escape dangers, and they only meet with 
greater ones. Our fathers and mothers have given 
us a good education, and here we have to unlearn 
and forget what they have taught us." 

Page 188. — " Do not suppose Jhat this is the 
case in our convent alone. It is just the same at 
St. Lucia, Prato, Pisa, Perugia, &c. I have known, 
things that would astonish you. Everywhere it is 
the same. Yes, everywhere the same disorders,, 
the same abuses prevail. I say, and I repeat it, 
let the superiors suspect as they may, they do not 
know the smallest pai;t of the enormous wicked- 
ness that goes on between the monks and the nuns 
whom they confess. Every monk who passed by 
on his way to the chapter, entreated a sick sister 
to confess to him, and !" 

Page 119. — "With respect to Father Buzachini, 
I say that he acted just as the others, sitting up 
late in the nunnery, diverting himself, and letting 
the usual disorders go on. There were several] 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 151 

nuns who had love affairs on his account. His 
own principal mistress was Odaldi, of St. Lucia, 
who used to send him continual treats. He was 
also in love with the daughter of our factor, ot 
whom they were very jealous here. He ruined also 
poor Caneellieri, who was sextoness. The monks 
are all alike with their penitents. 

" Some years ago, the nuns of St. Vincent, in 
consequence of the extraordinary passion they had. 
for their father confessors Lupi and Borghini, were 
divided into two parties, one calling themselves 
Le Lupe, the other Le Borghiani. 

" He who made the greatest noise was Donati- 
I believe he is now at Rome. Father Brandi, too,, 
was also in great vogue. I think he is now Prior 
of St. Gemignani. At St. Vincent, which passes 
for a very holy retreat, they have also their lov- 
ers ." 

My pen refuses to reproduce several things which, 
the nuns of Italy have published against their 
father confessors. But this is enough to show to 
the most incredulous that the confession is noth- 
ing else but a school of perdition, even among those 
who make a profession to live in the highest 
regions of Roman Catholic holiness— the monks 
and the nuns. 

Now, from Italy let us go to America and see 



152 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

again the working of auricular confession, not be- 
tween the holy ( ?) nuns and monks of Rome, but 
among the humblest classes of country women and 
priests. Great is the number of parishes where 
women have been destroyed by their confessors, 
but I will speak only of one. 

When curate of Beauport, I was called by the 
Bev. Mr. Proulx, curate of St. Antoine, to preach 
a retreat (a revival) with the Rev. Mr. Aubry, to 
his parishioners, and eight or ten other priests were 
also invited to come and help us to hear the con- 
fessions. 

The very first day, after preaching and passing 
five or six hours in the confessional, the hospitable 
curate gave us a supper before going to bed. But 
it was evident that a kind of uneasiness pervaded 
the whole company of the father confessors. For 
my own part I could hardly raise my eyes to look 
at my neighbor; and, when I wanted to speak a 
word, it seemed that my tongue was not free as 
usual; even my throat was as if it were choked: 
the articulation of the sounds was imperfect. It 
was evidently the same with the rest of the priests. 
Instead, then, of the noisy and cheerful conversa- 
tions of the other meals, there were only a few in- 
significant words exchanged with a half-suppressed 
tone. 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 153 

The Rev. Mr. Proulx (the curate) at first looked 
as if he also were partaking of that singular, though 
general, despondent feeling. During the first part 
of the lunch he hardly said a word; but, at last, 
raising his head, and turning his honest face towards 
us, in his usual gentlemanly, and cheerful manner, 
he said: — 

"Dear friends, I see that you are all under the 
influence of the most painful feelings. There is a 
burden on you that you can neither shake off nor 
bear as you wish. I know the cause of your trouble, 
and I hope you will not find fault with me, if I 
help you to recover from that disagreeable mental 
condition. You have heard, in the confessional, 
the history of many great sins; but I know that 
this is not what troubles you. You are all old 
enough in the confessional to know the miseries of 
poor human nature. Without any more prelimi- 
naries, I will come to the subject. It is no more a 
secret in this place, that one of the priests who has 
preceded me, has been very unfortunate, weak, and 
guilty with the greatest part of the married women 
whom he has confessed. Not more than one in ten 
has escaped him. I would not mention this fact 
had I got it only from the confessional, but I know 
it well from other sources, and I can speak of it 
freely, without breaking the secret seal of the con- 



154 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

fessional. Now, what troubles you is that, proba- 
bly, when a great number of those women have 
confessed to you what they had done with their 
confessor, you have not asked them how long it 
was since they had sinned with him, and in spite 
of yourselves, you think that I am the guilty man. 
This does, naturally, embarrass you, when you are 
in my presence, and at my table. But please ask 
them, when they come again to confess, how many 
months or years have passed away since their last 
love affair with a confessor; and you will see that 
you may suppose that you are in the house of an 
honest man. You may look me in the face, and 
have no fears to address me as if I were still worthy 
of your esteem; for, thanks be to God, I am not 
the guilty priest who has ruined and destroyed so 
many souls here." 

The curate had hardly pronounced the last word, 
when a general " We thank you, for you have 
taken away a mountain from our shoulders," fell 
from almost every lip. 

" It is a fact that, notwithstanding the good' 
opinion we had of you," said several, " we were 
in fear that you Jiad missed the right track, and 
fallen down with your fair penitents, into the 
ditch." 

I felt much relieved; for I was one of those who,. 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSION AX. 155- 

in spite ot myself, had my secret fears about the 
honesty of our host. When, very early the next 
morning, I had begun to hear the confessions, one 
of those unfortunate victims of the confessor's de- 
pravity came to me, and in the midst of many tears 
and sobs, she told me, with great details, what I 
repeat here in a few lines: — 

" I was only nine years old when my first con- 
fessor began to do very criminal things with me, 
every time I was at his feet confessing my sins. 
At first, I was ashamed and much disgusted; but 
soon after, I became so depraved that I was look- 
ing eagerly for every opportunity of meeting him, 
either in his own house, or in the church, in the 
vestry, and many times, in his own garden, when 
it was dark at night. That priest did not remain 
very long; he was removed, to my great regret, to 
another place, where he died. He was succeeded 
by another one, who seemed at first to be a very 
holy man. I made to him a general confession 
with, it seemed to me, a sincere desire to give up 
forever, that sinful life; but I fear that my confes- 
sions became a cause of sin to that good priest; 
for, not long after my confession was finished, ho 
declared to me, in the confessional, his love, with 
such passionate words, that he soon brought me 
down again into my former criminal habits with 



156 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

him. This lasted six years, when my parents re- 
moved to this place. I was very glad for it, for I 
hoped that, being away from him, I should not be 
any more a cause of sin to him, and that I might 
beofin a better life. But the fourth time that I went 
to confess to my new confessor, he invited me to 
go to his room, where we did things so disgusting 
together, that I do not know how to confess them. 
It was two days before my marriage, and the only 
child I have had is the fruit of that sinful hour. 
After my marriage, I continued the same criminal 
life with my confessor. He was the friend of my 
husband; we had many opportunities of meeting 
each other, not only when I was going to confess, 
but when my husband was absent and my child 
was at school. It was evident \o me that several 
other women were as miserable and criminal as I 
was myself. This sinful intercourse with my con- 
fessor went on, till God Almighty stopped it with 
a real thunderbolt. My dear only daughter had 
gone to confess, and received the holy communion. 
As she came back from church much later than I 
expected, I inquired the reason which had kept her 
so long. She then threw herself into my arms, 
and, with convulsive cries said, — < Dear mother, do 

not ask me to go to confess any more Oh! if 

you could know what my confessor asked me when 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 157 

I was at his feet! and if you could know what he 
has done with me, and he has forced me to do with 
him, when he had me alone in his parlor!" 

" My poor child chould not speak any longer; she 
fainted in my arms. 

"As soon as she recovered, without losing a 
minute, I dressed myself, and, full of an inexpres- 
sible rage, I directed my steps towards the parson- 
age. But before leaving my house, I had concealed 
under my shawl a sharp butcher's knife, to stab 
and kill the villain who had destroyed my dearly 
beloved child. Fortunately for that priest, God 
changed my mind before I entered his room: my 
words to him were few and sharp. 

'"You are a monster! " I said to him. 'Not 
satisfied to have destroyed me, you want to destroy 
my own dear child, which is yours also! Shame 
upon you! I had come with this knife, to put an 
end to your infamies; but so short a punishment 
would be too mild a one for such a monster. I 
want you to live, that you may bear upon your 
head the curse of the too unsuspecting and un- 
guarded friends whom you have so cruelly deceived 
and betrayed, I want you to live with the con- 
sciousness that you are known by me and many 
others, as one of the most infamous monsters who 
has ever defiled this world. But know that if you 



158 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

are not away from this place before the end of this 
week, I will reveal everything to my husband; and 
you may be sure that he will not let you live 
twenty-four hours longer; for he sincerely thinks 
your daughter is his; he will be the avenger of her 
honor! I go to denounce you, this very day, to 
the bishop, that he may take you away from this 
parish, which you have so shamelessly polluted." 

" The priest threw himself at my feet, and, with 
tears, asked my pardon, imploring me not to de- 
nounce him to the bishop, and promising that he 
would change his life and besrin to live as a good 
priest. But I remained inexorable. I went to the 
bishop, and warned his lordship of the sad conse- 
quences which would follow, if he kept that curate 
any longer in this place, as he seemed inclined to 
do. But before the eight clays had expired, he 
was put at the head of another parish, not very far 
away from here." 

The reader will, perhaps, like to know what has 
become of this priest. 

He remained at the head of that most beautiful 
parish of Beaumont, as curate, where, I know it 
for a fact, he continued to destroy his penitents, 
till a few years before he died, with the reputation 
of a good priest, an amiable man, ,and a holy con- 
fessor ! 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN, AND CONFESSIONAL. 159 

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: .... 

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord 
shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy 
with the brightness of His coming: 

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan, 
with all power and signs and lying wonders. 

And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that 
perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that 
they might be saved. 

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that 
they should believe a lie : 

That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, 
but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess. ii. 7 — 12). 




CHAPTER VII. 

SHOULD AURICULAR CONFESSION BE TOLERATED 
AMONG CIVILIZED NATIONS. 

LET my readers who understand Latin, peruse 
the extracts I give from Bishop Kennck, 
Debreyne, Burchard, Dens, or Liguori, and the 
most incredulous will iearn for themselves that the 
world, even in the darkest ages of old paganism, 
has never seen anything more infamous and de- 
grading' as auricular confession. 

To say that auricular confession purifies the 
soul, is not less ridiculous and silly than to say 
that the white robe of the virgin, or the lily of the 
valley, will become whiter by being dipped into a 
bottle of black ink. 

Has not the Pope's celibate, by studying his 
books before he goes to the confessional-box, cor- 
rupted his own heart, and plunged his mind, 
memory, and soul into an atmosphere of impurity 
which would have been intolerable even to the 
people of Sodom? 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 161 

We ask it not only in the name of religion, but 
of common sense. How can that man, whose heart 
and memory are just made the reservoir of all the 
grossest impurities the world has ever known, help 
others to he chaste and pure? 

The idolaters of India believe that they will be 
purified from their sins by drinking the water with 
which they have just washed the feet of their priests. 

What monstrous doctrine! The souls of men 
purified by the water which has washed the feet of 
a miserable, sinful man ! Is there any religion 
more monstrous and diabolical than the Brahmin 
religion ? 

Yes, there is one more monstrous, deceitful, and 
contaminating than that. It is the religion which: 
teaches that the soul of man is purified by a few 
magical words (called absolution; which come from 
the lips of a miserable sinner, whose heart and in- 
telligence have just been filled by the unmention- 
able impurities of Dens, Liguori, Debreyne, Ken- 
rick, &c., &c. For if the poor Indian's soul is not 
purified by the drinking of the holy (?) water 
which has touched the feet of his priest, at least 
that soul cannot be contaminated by it. But who 
does not clearly see that the drinking of the vile 
questions of the confessor contaminate, defile and 
damn the soul ? 



162 THE PRIEST, WOMAN, AND CONFESSIONAL. 

Who has not been filled with deep compassion 
and pity for those poor idolaters of Hindoostan, 
who believe that they will secure to themselves a 
happy passage to the next life, if they have the 
good luck to die when holding in their hands the 
tail of a cow? But there are people among us who 
are not less worthy of our supreme compassion and 
pity; for they hope that they will be purified from 
their sins and be forever happy, if a few magical 
words (called absolution) fall upon their souls from 
the polluted lips of a miserable sinner, sent by the 
Pope of Rome. The dirty tail of a cow, and the 
magical words of a confessor, to purify the souls 
and wash away the sins of the world, are equally 
inventions of the devil. Both religions come from 
Satan, for they equally substitute the magical 
power of vile creatures for the blood of Christ, to 
save the guilty children of Adam. They both ig- 
nore that the blood of the Lamb alone cleanseth us 
from all sin. 

Yes! auricular confession is a public act of 
idolatry. It is asking from a man what God alone, 
through His Son Jesus, can grant: forgiveness of 
sins. Has the Saviour of the world ever said to 
sinners, " Go to this or that man for repentance, 
pardon and peace?" No: but he 'has said to all 
sinners, " Come unto me." And from that day to 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 163 

the end of the world, all the echoes ci heaven and 
earth will repeat these words of the merciful 
Saviour to all the lost children of Adam — " Come 
unto me." 

When Christ gave to His disciples the power of 
the keys in these words, u whatsoever ye shall bind 
on earth, shall be bound in heaven ; and whatso- 
ever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heav- 
en" (Matt, xviii. 18), He had just explained His 
mind by saying, " If thy brother shall trespass 
against thee " (v. 15)." The Son of God Himself, 
in that solemn hour, protested against the stupen- 
dous imposture of Rome, by telling us positively 
that that power of binding and loosing, forgiving 
and retaining sins, was only in reference to sins 
committed against each other. ■ Peter had correctly 
understood his Master's words, when he asked, 
"How oft shall my brother sin against me and I 
forgive him?" 

And in order that His true disciples might not 
be shaken by the sophisms of Rome, or by the 
glittering nonsense of that band of silly half-Popish 
Episcopalians, called Tractarians, Ritualists, or 
Puseyites, the merciful Saviour gave the admirable 
parable of the poor servant, which He closed by 
what He has so often repeated, " So likewise shall 
my Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye, from 



164: THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

your hearts, forgive not every one his brother their 
trespasses." (Matt, xviii. 35.) 

Not long before, He had again mercifully given 
us His whole mind about the obligation and power 
which every one of His disciples had of forgiving : 
" For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your 
Heavenly Father will also forgive you ; but if ye 
forgive men not their trespasses, neither will your 
Father forgive your trespasses. " (Matt. vi. 14, 15.) 

" Be ye therefore merciful as your Father also is 
merciful ; forgive and ye shall be forgiven." (Luke 
vi. 36, 37.) 

Auricular Confession, as the Rev. Dr. Wain- 
wright has so eloquently put it in his " Confession 
not Auricular," is a diabolical caricature of the 
forgiveness of sin through the blood of Christ, just 
as the impious dogma of Transubstantiation is a 
monstrous caricature of the salvation of the world 
through His death. 

The Romanists, and their ugly tail, the Ritual- 
istic party in the Episcopal Church, make a great 
noise about the words of our Saviour, in St. John : 
" Whatsoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto 
them : and whatsoever sins ye retaiu, they are re- 
tained." (John xx. 23.) 

But again, our Saviour had Himself, once for all, 
explained what He meant by forgiving and retain- 



THE PKIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 165 

ing sins — Matt, xviii. 35 ; Matt. vi. 14, 15 ; Luke 
vi. 36, 37. 

Nobody but wilfully-blind men could misunder- 
stand Him. Besides that, the Holy Ghost Him- 
self has mercifully taken care that we should not 
be deceived by the lying traditions of men, on that 
important subject, when in St. Luke He gave us 
the explanation of the meaning of John xx. 23, by 
telling us, " Thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and 
to rise from the dead the third day : and that re- 
pentance and remission of sins should be preached 
in Llis name among all nations, beginning at Jeru- 
salem." (Luke xxiv. 46, 47.) 

In order that we may better understand the 
words of our Saviour in St. John xx. 23, let us put 
thorn face to face with His own explanations (Luke 
xxiv. 46, 47). 

LUKE XXIV. JOHN XX. 

33. And they rose up the 18. Mary Magdalene came 
same hour and returned to Je- and told the disciples that she 
rusalem and found the eleven had seen the Lord, and that 
gathered together, and them he had spoken these things 
that were with them. ' unto her. 

34. Saying, the Lord is risen 
indeed, and hath appeared to 
Simon 

36. And as they thus spake, 19. Then the same day at 

Jesus himself stood in the evening, being the first day of 

midst of them, and said unto the week, when the doora 

them, Peace be unto you. were shut where the disciples 



166 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AJSD CONFESSIONAL. 



37. But they were terrified 
and affrighted, and supposed 
that they had seen a spirit. 

38. And he said unto them, 
Why are ye troubled? and 
why do thoughts arise m your 
hearts ? 

39. Behold my hands and 
my feet, that it is I myself: 
handle me, and see; for a 
spirit hath not flesh and bones 
as ye see me have. 

40. And when he had thus 
spoken, he showed them his 
hands and his feet 

41. And while they yet be- 
lieved not for joy, and won- 
dered, he said unto them, 
Have ye here any meat ? 

42. And they gave him a 
piece of a broiled fish, and of 
an honeycomb. 

43. And he took it, and did 
eat before them. 

44. And he said unto them, 
'these are the words which I 
spoke unto you, while I was 
yet with you, that all things 
must be fulfilled, which were 
written in the law of Moses, 
and in the prophets, and in 
the psalms concerning me. 

45. Then opened he their 
understancling,that they might 
understand the Scriptures, 

46. And said unto them, 
Thus it is written, and thus it 
behoved Christ to suffer, and 
to rise from the dead the third 
day. 



were assembled, for fear or the 
Jews, came Jesus and stood in 
the midst, and saith untd 
them, Peace be unto you. 



20. And when he had so 
said, he shewed unto them his 
hands and his side. Then 
were the disciples glad, when 
they saw the Lord. 



21. Then said Jesus to them 
again, Peace be unto you: as 
my Father hath sent me, even 
so send I you. 



22. And when he had said 
this, he breathed on them, 
and saith unto them, Receive- 
ye the Holy Ghost : 



THE PEIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 167 

41. And that repentance and 23. Whose soever sins ye 

remission of sins should be remit, they are remitted unto 

preached in his name among them ; whose soever sins ye 

all nations, beginning at Jeru- retain, they are retained, 
salem. 

Three tilings are evident from comparing the 
report of St. John and St. Luke : — 

1. The j speak of the same event, though one of 
them gives certain details omitted by the other, as 
we find in the rest of the gospels. 

2. The words of St. John, "Whose soever sins 
ye remit, they are remitted unto them ; and whose 
soever sins ye retain, they are retained," are ex- 
plained by the Holy Ghost Himself, in St. Luke, 
as meaning that the apostles shall preach repent- 
ance and forgiveness of sins through Christ. It is 
just what our Saviour has Himself said in St. 
Matthew ix. 13 : " But go ye and learn what that 
meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice : fur 
I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to 
repentance." 

It is just the same doctrine taught by Peter 
(Acts ii. 38): "Then Peter said ento them, Re- 
pent, and be baptised every one of you in the name 
of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye 
shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." 

Just the same doctrine of the forgiveness of sins, 
not through auricular confession or absolution, but 



168 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

through the preaching of the Word : "Be it known 
unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through 
this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of 
sins " (Acts xiii. 38). 

3. The third thing which is evident is that the 
apostles were not alone when Christ appeared and 
spoke, but that several of His other disciples, even 
some women, were there. 

If the Romanists, then, could prove that Christ 
established auricular confession, and gave the power 
of absolution, by what He said in that solemn hour, 
women as well as men — in fact, every believer in 
Christ— would be authorized to hear confessions 
and give absolution. The Holy Ghost was not 
promised or given only to the Apostles, but to 
every believer, as we see in Acts i. 15, and ii. 
1, 2, 3. 

But the Gospel of Christ, as well as the history 
of the first ten centuries of Christianity, is the wit- 
ness that auricular confession and absolution are 
nothing else but a sacrilegious as well as a most 
stupendous imposture. 

What tremendous efforts the priests of Rome 
have made, these last five centuries, and are still 
making, to persuade their dupes that the Son of 
God was making of them a privileged caste, a caste 
endowed with the Divine and exclusive power of 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 169 

opening and shutting the gates of Heaven, when 
He said, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, 
shall be bound in Heaven ; and whatsoever ye shall 
loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven." 

But our adorable Saviour, who perfectly foresaw 
those diabolical efforts on the part of the priests of 
Rome, entirely upset every vestige of their founda- 
tion by saying immediately, " Again I say unto 
you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as 
touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be 
done for them of my Father which is in Heaven. 
For where two or three are gathered together in 
My name, there am I in the midst of them " (Matt, 
xviii. 19, 20.) 

Would the priests of Rome attempt to make us 
believe that these words of the 19th and 20th verses 
are addressed to them exclusively? They have not 
yet dared to say it. They confess that these words 
are addressed to all His disciples. But our Saviour 
positively says that the other words, implicating 
(he so-called power of the priests to .hear the con- 
fession and give the absolution, are addressed to 
the very same persons — " I say unto you," &c, &c. 
The you of the 19th and 20th verses is the same 
yi9?/, of the 18th. The power of loosing and un- 
loosing is, then, given to all — those who would be 
offended and would forgive. Then, our Saviour 



170 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

had not in His mind to form a caste of men with 
any marvellous power over the rest of His disci- 
ples. The priests of Rome, then, are impostors, 
and nothing else, when they say that the power of 
loosing and unloosing sins was exclusively granted 
to them. 

Instead of going to the confessor, let the Chris- 
tian go to his merciful God, through Christ, and 
say, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive 
them that trespass against us." This is the Truth, 
not as it comes from the Vatican, but as it comes 
from Calvary, where our debts were paid, with the 
only condition that we should believe, repent and 
love. 

Have not the Popes publicly and repeatedly 
anathematized the sacred principle of Liberty of 
Conscience? Have they not boldly said, in the 
teeth of the nations of Europe, that Liberty of 
Conscience must be destroyed — killed at any cost? 
Has not the whole world heard the sentence of 
death to liberty coming from the lips of the old 
man of the Vatican ? But where is the scaffold on 
which the doomed Liberty must perish ? That 
scaffold is the confessional-box. Yes, in the con- 
fessional, the Pope has his 100,000 high execu- 
tioners ! There they are, day and night, with sharp 
daggers in hand, stabbing Liberty to the heart. 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 171 

In vain will noble France expel her old tyrants 
in order to be free ; in vain will she shed the pur- 
est blood of her heart to protect and save liberty ! 
True liberty cannot live a day there so long as the* 
executioners of the Pope are free to stab her on 
their 100,000 scaffolds. 

In vain chivalrous Spain will call Liberty to give 
a new life to her people. Liberty cannot set her 
feet there, except to die, so long as the Pope is 
allowed to strike her in his 50,000 confessionals. 

And free America, too, will see all her so dearly- 
bought liberties destroyed, the day that the con- 
fessional-box is universally reared in her midst. 

Auricular Confession and Liberty cannot stand 
together on the same ground ; either one or the 
other must fall. 

Liberty must sweep away the confessional, as she 
has swept away the demon of slavery, or she is 
doomed to perish. 

Can a man be free in his own house, so long as 
there is another who has the legal right to spy all 
his actions, and direct not only every step, but 
every thought of his wife and children? Can that 
man boast of a home whose wife and children are 
under the control of another ? Is not that unfor- 
tunate man really the slave of the ruler and mas- 
ter of his household ? And when a whole nation 



172 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

is composed of such husbands and fathers, is it not 
a nation of abject, degraded slaves ? 

To a thinking man, one of the most strange 
phenomena is that our modern nations allow their 
most sacred rights to be trampled under foot, and 
destroyed by the Papacy, the sworn enemy of Lib- 
erty, through a mistaken respect and love for that 
same Liberty ! 

No people have more respect for Liberty of Con- 
science than the Americans ; but has the noble 
State of Illinois allowed Joe Smith and Brigham 
Young to degrade and enslave the American wom- 
en under the pretext of Liberty of Conscience, 
appealed to by the so-called " Latter-day Saints ? " 
No ! The ground was soon made too hot for the 
tender conscience of the modern prophets. Joe 
Smith perished when attempting to keep his cap- 
tive wives in his chains, and Brigham Young had 
to fly to the solitudes of the Far West, to enjoy 
what he called his liberty of conscience with the 
thirty women whom he had degraded, and en- 
chained under his yoke. But even in that remote 
solitude the false prophet has heard the distant 
peals of the roaring thunder. The threatened voice 
of the great Republic has troubled his rest, and 
before his death he wisely spoke of going as much 
as possible out of the reach of Christian civilisation, 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 173 

before the dark and threatening clouds which he 
saw on the horizon would hurl upon him their ir- 
resistible storms. 

Will any one blame the American people for so 
going to the rescue of women? No, surely not.. 

But what is this confessional box ? Nothing but 
a citadel and stronghold of Mormonism. 

What is this Father Confessor, with few excep- 
tions, but a lucky Brigham Young ? 

I do not want to be believed on my ipse dixit. 
What I ask from serious thinkers is, that they 
should read the encyclicals of the Piuses, the 
Gregorys, the Benoits, and many other Popes, 
"De Sollicitantibus." There they will see, with 
their own eyes, that, as a general thing, the con- 
fessor has more women to serve him than the Mor- 
mon prophets ever had. Let him read the memoirs 
of one of the most venerable men of the Church of 
Rome, Bishop Scipio de Picci, and they will see, 
with their own eyes, that the confessors are more 
free with their penitents, even nuns, than husbands 
are with their wives. Let them hear the testimony 
of one of the noblest princesses of Italy, Henrietta 
Carracciolo, who still lives, and they will know 
that the Mormons have more respect for women 
than the greater part of the confessors have. Let 
them read the personal experience of Miss O'Gor- 



174 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

man, five years a nun in the United States, and 
they will understand that the priests and their fe> 
male penitents, even nuns, are outraging all the 
laws of God and man, through the dark mysteries 
of auricular confession. That Miss O'Gorman, as 
well as Miss Henrietta Carracciolo, are still living. 
Why are they not consulted by those who like to 
know the truth, and who fear that we exaggerate 
the ^infamies which come from u auricular confes- 
sion" as from their infallible source? Let them 
hear the lamentations of Cardinal Baronius, St. 
Bernard, Savanarola, Pius, Gregory, St. Therese, 
St. Liguori, on the unspeakable and irreparable 
ruin spread all along the ways and all over the 
countries haunted by the Pope's confessors, and 
they will know that the confessional-box is the daily 
witness of abominations which would hardly have 
been tolerated in the lands of Sodom and Gomorrah. 
Let the legislators, the fathers and husbands of 
every nation and tongue, interrogate Father Gav- 
azzi, Grassi, and thousands of living priests who, 
like myself, have miraculously been taken out from 
that Egyptian servitude to the promised land, and 
they will tell you the same old, old story — that the 
confessional-box is for the greatest part of the con- 
fessors and female penitents, a real' pit of perdition, 
into which they promiscuously fall and perish 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 175 

Yes ; they will tell you that the soul and heart of 
your wife and daughter are purified by the magical 
words of the confessional, just as the souls of the 
poor idolaters of Hindoostan are purified by the 
tail of the cow which they hold in their hands, when 
they die. Study the pages of the past history of 
England, France, Italy, Spain, &c, &c, and you 
will see that the gravest and most reliable histor- 
ians have, everywhere, found mysteries of iniquity in 
the confessional-box which their pen refused to trace. 

In the presence of such public, undeniable, and 
lamentable facts, have not the civilised nations a 
duty to perform ? Is it not time that the children 
of light, the true disciples of the Gospel, all over the 
world, should rally round the banners of Christ, and 
go, shoulder to shoulder, to the rescue of women? 

Woman is to society what the roots are to the 
most precious trees of your orchard. If you knew 
that a thousand worms are biting the roots of those 
noble trees, that their leaves are already fading 
away, their rich fruits, though yet unripe, are fall- 
ing on the ground, would you not unearth the roots 
and sweep away the worms ? 

The confessor is the worm which is biting, pol- 
luting, and destroying the very roots of civil and 
religious society, by contaminating, debasing, and 
enslaving woman. 



176 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

Before the nations can see the reign of peace v 
happiness, and liberty, which Christ has promised, 
they must, like the Israelites, pull down the walls 
of Jericho. The confessional is the modern Jer- 
icho, which defiantly dares the children of God ! 

Let, then, the people of the Lord, the true 
soldiers of Christ, rise up and rally around His 
banners ; and let them fearlessly march, shoulder 
to shoulder, on the doomed city : let all the trum- 
pets of Israel be sounded around its walls : let 
fervent prayers go to the throne of Mercy, from the 
heart of every one for whom the Lamb has been 
slain : let such a unanimous cry of indignation be 
heard, through the length and breadth of the land, 
against that greatest and most jnonstrous imposture 
of modern times, that the earth will tremble under 
the feet of the confessor, so that his very knees will 
shake, and soon the walls of Jericho will fall, the 
confessional will disappear, and its unspeakable 
pollutions will no more imperil the very existence 
of society. 

Then the multitudes who were kept captive will 
come to the Lamb, who will make them pure with 
His blood and free with His word. 

Then the redeemed nations will sing a song of 
joy : " Babylon, the great, the mother of harlots 
and abominations of the earth, is fallen ! is fallen!" 1 



CHAPTER VIII, 



DOES AURICULAR CONFESSION BRING PEACE TO 
THE SOUL? 

THE connecting of Peace with Auricular Con 
fession is surely the most cruel sarcasm ever 
uttered in human language. 

It would be less ridiculous and false to admire- 
the calmness of the sea, and the stillness of the 
atmosphere, when a furious storm raises the foan>- 
ing waves to the sky, than to speak of the Peace 
of the soul either during or after the confession. 

I know it ; the confessors and their dupes chorus, 
every tune by crying "Peace, peace!" But the* 
God of truth and holiness answers, "There is do 
peace for the wicked ! " 

The fact is, that no human words can adequately 
express the anxieties of the soul before confession^ 
its unspeakable confusion in the act of confessing 
or its deadly terrors after confession. 

Let those who have never drunk of the bitter 
waters which flow from the confessional box, read 



178 THE PRIESTj WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

the following plan and correct recital of my own 
first experience in auricular confession. They are 
nothing less than the history of what nine-tenths 
of the penitents* of Rome, old and young, are sub- 
ject to; and they will know what to think of that 
marvelous Peace about which Romanists, and their 
silly copyists, the Ritualists, have written so many 
eloquent lies. 

In the year 1819, my parents had sent me from 
Murray Bay {La Mai Bate), where they lived, to 
an excellent school at St. Thomas. I was then 
about nine years old. I boarded with an uncle, 
who, though a nominal Roman Catholic, did not 
believe a word of what his priest preached. But 
my aunt had the reputation of being a very devot- 
ed woman. Our schoolmaster, Mr. John Jones, 
was a well-educated Englishman, and a staunch 
PROTESTANT. This last circumstance had ex- 
cited the wrath of the Roman Catholic priest 
against the teacher and his numerous pupils to such 
an extent, that they were often denounced from the 
pulpit with very hard words. But if he did not 
like us, I must admit that we were paying him with 
his own coin. 

But let us come to my first lessen in Auricular 

*By the word $e?iitents, Rome means not thoss who re$ent y 
but those who confess to the priest. 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 179 

Confession. No ! No words can express to those 
who have never had any experience in the matter, 
the consternation, anxiety and shame of a poor 
Bomish child, when he hears his priest saying from 
the pulpit, in a grave and solemn tone: "This 
week you will send your children to confession. 
Make them understand that this action is one of 
the most important of their lives, that for every 
one of them it will decide their eternal happiness 
or ruin. Fathers, mothers and guardians of those 
children, if, through your fault or theirs, your chil- 
dren are guilty of a false confession : if they do not 
confess everything to the priest who holds the place 
of God Himself, this sin is often irreparable: the 
devil will take possession of their hearts, they will 
lie to their father confessor, or rather to Jesus 
Christ, of whom he is the representative : their 
lives will be a series of sacrileges, their death and 
eternity those of reprobates. Teach them, there- 
fore, to examine thoroughly all their actions, words, 
thoughts and desires, in order to confess every- 
thing just as it occurred, without any disguise." 

I was in the Church of St. Thomas, when these 
words fell upon me like a thunderbolt. I had often 
heard my mother say, when at home, and my aunt, 
since I had come to St. Thomas, that upon the first 
confession depended my eternal happiness or mis- 



180 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

ery. That week was, therefore, to decide the vital 
question of my eternity ! 

Pale and dismayed, I left the Church after the 
service, and returned to the house of my relations. 
I took my place at the table, but could not eat, so 
much was I troubled. I went to my room for the 
purpose of commencing my examination of con- 
science, and to try to recall every one of my sinful 
actions, thoughts and words ! 

Although scarcely over nine years of age, this 
task was really overwhelming to me. I knelt 
down to pray to the Virgin Mary for help, but I 
was so much taken up with the fear of forgetting 
something or making a bad confession, that I mut- 
tered my prayers without the least attention to 
what I said. It became still worse, when I com' 
menced counting my sins ; my memory, though 
very good, became confused ; my head grew dizzy ; 
my heart beat with a rapidity which exhausted me, 
my brow was covered with perspiration. After a 
considerable length of time spent in these painful 
efforts, I felt bordering on despair from the fear 
that it was impossible for me to remember exactly 
everything, and to confess each sin as it occurred. 
The night following was almost a sleepless one ; 
and when sleep did come, it could hardly be called 
sleep, but a suffocating delirium. In a frightful 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 181 

dream, I felt as if I had been cast into hell, for not 
having confessed all my sins to the priest. In the 
morning I awoke fatigued and prostrate by the 
phantoms and emotions of that terrible night. In 
similar troubles of mind were passed the three 
days which preceded my first confession. 

I had constantly before me the countenance of 
that stern priest who had never smiled on me. He 
was present to my thoughts during the days, and in 
my dreams during the nights, as the minister of an 
angry God, justly irritated against me on account 
of my sins. Forgiveness had indeed been prom- 
ised to me, on condition of a good confession ; but 
my place had also been shown to me in hell, if my 
confession was not as near perfection as possible. 

Now, my troubled conscience told me that there 
were ninety chances against one that my confession 
would be bad, either if by my own fault, I forgot 
some sins, or if I was without that contrition of 
which I had heard so much, but the nature and 
effects of which were a perfect chaos in my mind. 

At length came the day of my confession, or 
father of judgment and condemnation. I presented 
myself to the priest, the Rev. Mr. Beaubien. 

He had, then, the defects of lisping or stammer- 
ing, which we often turned into ridicule. And, as 
nature had unfortunately endowed me with admir- 



182 THE PEIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

able powers as a mimic, the infirmities of this poor 
priest afforded only too good an opportunity for 
the exercise of my talent. Not only was it one of 
my favorite amusements to imitate him before the 
pupils amidst roars of laughter, but also, I preached 
portions of his sermons before his parishioners with 
similar results. Indeed, many of them came from 
considerable distances to enjoy the opportunity of 
listening to me, and they, more than once, rewarded 
me with cakes of maple sugar, for my perform- 
ances. 

These acts of mimicry were, of course, among 
my sins ; and it became necessary for me to ex- 
amine myself upon the number of times I had 
mocked the priests. This circumstance was not 
calculated to make my confession easier or more 
agreeable. 

At last, the dread moment arrived, I knelt for 
the first time at the side of my confessor, but my 
whole frame trembled : I repeated the prayer pre- 
paratory to confession, scarcely knowing what I 
said, so much was I troubled by fears. 

By the instructions which had been given us 
before confession, we had been made to believe 
that the priest was the true representative, yea, 
almost the personification of Jesus Christ. The 
consequence was that I believed rny greatest sin. 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 183 

was that of mocking the priest — and I, as I had 
been told that it was proper first to confess the 
greatest sins, I commenced thus: "Father, I ac- 
cuse myself of having mocked a priest !" 

Hardly had I uttered these words, " mocked a 
priest,*" when this pretended representative of the 
humble Jesus, turning towards me, and looking in 
my face, in order to know me better, asked abrubt- 
ly : " What priest did you mock, my boy ?" 

I would have rather chosen to cut out my tongue 
than to tell him, to his face, who it was. I, there- 
fore, kept silent for a while ; but my silence made 
him very nervous, and almost angry. With a 
haughty tone of voice, he said : " What priest did 
you take the liberty of thus mocking, my boy ? " 
I saw that I had to answer. Happily, his haught- 
iness had made me bolder and firmer ; I said r 
"Sir, you are the priest whom I mocked ! " 

"But how many times did you take upon your- 
self to mock me, my boy ? ' ' asked he, angrily. 

u I tried to find out the number of times, but I 
never could."- 

"You must tell me how many times; for to 
mock one's own priest, is a great sin." 

" It is impossible for me to give you the number 
of times," I answered. 

"Well, my child, I will help your memory by 



184 THE PKIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

asking you questions. Tell me the truth. Do yov 
think you mocked me ten times? " 

" A great many times more," I answered. 

■" Have you mocked me fifty times ? " 

" Oh ! many more still ! ' ' 

11 A hundred times? " 

*" Say five hundred, and perhaps more," I an- 
swered. 

u Well, my boy, do you spend all your time in 
mocking me ? " 

u Not all my time ; but, unfortunately, I have 
•done it very often." 

u Yes, you may well say ' unfortunately ! ' for 
to mock your priest, who holds the place of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, is a great sin and a great mis- 
fortune for you. But tell me, my little boy, what 
reason have you for mocking me thus ? " 

In my examination of conscience, I had not fore- 
seen that I should be obliged to give the reasons 
for mocking the priest, and I was thunderstruck 
"by his questions. I dared not answer, and I re- 
mained for a long time dumb, from the shame that 
overpowered me. But, with a harrassing persever- 
ance, the priest insisted upon my telling why I had 
mocked him ; assuring me that I would be damned 
If I did not speak the whole truth. So I decided to 
speak, and said : " I mocked you for several things. " 



THE PKlEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 185 

" What made you first mock me?" asked the 
priest. 

" I laughed at you because you lisp: among the 
pupils of the school, and other people, it often hap- 
pens that we imitate your preaching to laugh at 
yrou," I answered. 

' ' For what other reason did you laugh at me, my 
little boy?" 

For a long time I was silent. Every time I 
opened my mouth to speak, my courage failed me. 
But the priest continued to urge me ; I said at last : 
4 ' It is rumored in town that you love the girls : 
that you visit the Misses Richards almost every 
night; and this made us laugh often." 

The poor priest was evidently overwhelmed by 
my answer, and ceased questioning me on that sub- 
ject. Changing the conversation, he said: "What 
are your other sins?" 

I began to confess them according to the order 
in which they came to my memory. But the feel- 
ing of shame which overpowered me, in repeating 
all my sins to that man, was a thousand times 
greater than that of having offended God. In 
reality, this feeling of human shame, which ab- 
sorbed my thoughts, nay, my whole being, left no 
room for any religious feeling at all, and I am 
certain that this is the case with more than the 



186 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND OONEE&SIONA^ 

greater part of those who confess their sins to ft^ 
priest. 

When I had confessed all the sins I could re- 
member, the priest began to put to me the strang- 
est questions about matters upon which my pen 

must be silent .1 replied, " Father, I do not 

understand what you ask me." 

" I question you," he answered, " on the sins of 
the sixth commandment of God (seventh in the 
Bible). Do confess all, my little boy, for you will 
go to hell, if, through your fault, you omit any- 
thing." 

And thereupon he dragged my thoughts into- 
regions of iniquity which, thanks be to God, had 
hitherto been quite unknown to me. 

I answered him again, "I do not understand 
you," or " I have never done those wicked things." 

Then, skilfully shifting to some secondary mat- 
ters, he would soon slyly and cunningly come back to 
his favorite subject, namely, sins of licentiousness. 

His questions were so unclean that I blushed, 
and felt nauseated with disgust and shame. More 
than once, I had been, to my great regret, in the 
company of bad boys, but not one of them had 
offended my moral nature so much as this priest 
had done. Not one of them had ever approached 
the shadow of the things from which that man tore 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 187 

the veil, and which he placed before the eyes of 
my soul. In vain I told him that I was not guilty 
of those things; that I did not even understand 
what he asked me; but he would not let me off. 

Like a vulture bent upon tearing the poor de- 
fenceless bird that falls into its claws, that cruel 
priest seemed determined to ruin and defile my 
heart. 

At last he asked me a question in a form of ex- 
pression so bad, that I was really pained and put 
beside myself. I felt as if I had received the shock 
from an electric battery: a feeling of horror made 
me shudder. I was filled with such indignation 
that, speaking loud enough to be heard by many, 
I told him: " Sir, I am very wicked, but I was 
never guilty of what you mention to me: please 
don't ask me any more of those qustions, which 
will teach me more wickedness than I ever knew." 

The remainder of my confession was short. . The 
stern rebuke I had given him had evidently made 
the priest blush, if it had not frightened him. He 
stopped short, and gave me some very good advice, 
which might have done me good, if the deep 
wounds which his questions had inflicted upon my 
soul, had not so absorbed my thoughts as to pre- 
vent me giving attention to what he said. He- 
gave me a short penance and dismissed me. 



188 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

I left the confessional irritated and confused. 
From the shame of what I had just heard, I dared 
not raise my eyes from the ground. I went into 
a corner of the church to do my penance, that is to 
recite the prayers which he had indicated to me. 
I remained for a long time in the church. I had 
need of calm, after the terrible trial through 
which I had just passed. But vainly I sought for 
rest. The shameful questions which had just been 
asked me; the new world of iniquity into which I 
had been introduced; the impure phantoms by 
which my childish head had been defiled, confused 
and troubled my mind so much, that I began to 
weep bitterly. 

I left the church only when forced to do so by 
the shades of night, and came back to my uncle's 
house with a feeling of shame and uneasiness, as 
if I had done a bad action and feared lest I should 
be detected. My trouble was much increased when 
my uncle jestingly said: " Now that you have been 
to confess, you will be a good boy. But if you are 
not a better boy, you will be a more learned one, 
if your confessor has taught you what mine did 
when I confessed for the first time." 

I blushed and remained silent. My aunt said: 

"You must feel happy, now thai, you have made 
your confession: do you not?" 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 18$ 

I gave an evasive answer, but could not entirely 
conceal the confusion which overwhelmed me. I 
went to bed early; but I could hardly sleep. 

I thought I was the only boy whom the priest 
had asked these polluting questions; but great was 
my confusion, when, on going to school the next 
day, I learned that my companions had not been 
happier than I had been, The only difference was 
that, instead of being grieved as I was, they 
laughed at it. 

"Did the priest ask you this and that," they 
would demand, laughing boisterously; I refused 
to reply, and said: " Are you not ashamed to speak 
of these things? " 

"Ah! ah! how scrupulous you are," continued 
they, " if it is not a sin for the priest to speak to us 
on these matters, how can it be a sin for us to 
laugh at it." I felt confounded, not knowing what 
to answer. But my confusion increased not a lit- 
tle when, soon after, I perceived that the young 
girls of the school had not been less polluted or 
scandalized than the boys. Although keeping at 
a sufficient distance from us to prevent us from un- 
derstanding everything they had to say on their 
confessional experience, those girls were sufficient- 
ly near to let us hear many things which it would 
have been better for us not to know. Some of 



190 THE PRIEST, TV MAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

them seemed thoughtful, sad, and shameful; but 
some of them laughed heartily at what they had 
leared in the confessional-box. 

I was very indignant against the priest; and 
thought in myself that he was a very wicked man 
for having put to us such repelling questions. But 
I was wrong. That priest was honest; he was 
only doing his duty, as I have known since, when 
studying the theologians of Rome. The Rev. Mr. 
Beaubien was a real gentleman; and if he had 
been free to follow the dictates of his honest con- 
science, it is my strong conviction, he would never 
have sullied our young hearts with such impure 
ideas. But what has the honest conscience of a 
priest to do in the confessional, except to be silent 
and dumb; the priest of Rome is an automaton, 
tied to the feet of the Pope by an iron chain. He 
can move, go right or left, up or down; he can 
think and act, but only at the bidding of the in- 
fallible god of Rome. The priest knows the will 
of his modern divinity only through his approved 
emissaries, ambassadors, and theologians. With 
shame on my brow, and bitter tears of regret flow- 
ing just now, on my cheeks, I confess that I have 
had myself to learn by heart those damning ques- 
tions, and put them to the young and the old, who 
like me, were fed with the diabolical doctrines of 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSION 4L. 191 

the Church of Rome, in reference to auricular con- 
fession. 

Some time after, some people waylaid and 
whipped that very same priest, when, during a 
very dark night he was coming back from visiting 
his fair young penitents, the Misses Richards. And 
the next day, the conspirators having met at the 
house of Dr. Stephen Tache, to give a report of 
what they had done to the half secret society to 
which they belonged, I was invited by my young 
friend Louis Cazault* to conceal myself with him, 
in an adjoining room, where we could hear every- 
thing without being seen. I find in the old manu- 
scripts of "my young years' recollections" the 
following address of Mr. Dubord, one of the prin- 
cipal merchants of St. Thomas: 

" Mr. President, — I was not among those who 
gave to the priest the expression of the public feel- 
ings with the eloquent voice of the whip; but I 
wish I had been; I would heartily have co-operated 
to give that so well-deserved lesson to the father 
confessors of Canada; and let me give you my rea- 
sons for that. 

"My child, who is hardly twelve years old, went 
to confess, as did the other girls of the village, 

*He died many years after when at the head of the Laval 
University. 



192 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

some time ago. It was against my will. I know 
by my own experience, that of all actions, confes- 
sion is the most degrading of a person's life. I 
can imagine nothing so well calculated to destroy 
forever one's self-respect, as the modern invention 
of the confessional. Now, what is a person with- 
out self-respect? Especially a woman? Is not all 
forever lost without this? 

" In the confessional, everything is corruption 
of the lowest sfrade. There the srirls' thoughts, 
lips, hearts and souls are forever polluted. Do I 
need to prove you this! No! for though you have 
long since given up auricular confession, as below 
the dignity of man, you have not forgotten the 
lessons of corruption which you have received 
from it. Those lessons have remained on your 
souls as the scars left by the red-hot iron upon the 
brow of the slave, to be a perpetual witness of his 
slavery, to be a perpetual witness of his shame and 
servitude. 

"The confessional-box is the place where our 
wives and daughters learn things which would 
make the most degraded women of our cities blush! 

"Why are all Koman Catholic nations inferior 
to nations belonging to Protestantism? Only in 
the confessional can the solution i>f that problem 
be found. And why are Koman Catholic nation* 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 193 

degraded in proportion to their submission to their 
priests? It is because the more often the indiv- 
iduals composing those nations go to confess, the 
more rapidly they sink in the sphere of intelli- 
gence and morality. A terrible example of the 
auricular confession depravity has just occurred in 
my own family. * 

"As I have said a moment ago, I was against 
my own daughter going to confession, but her poor 
mother, wio is under the control of the priest, 
earnestly wanted her to go. Not to have a disa- 
greeable scene in my house, I had to yield to the 
tears of my wife. 

"On the following day of the confession, they 
believed I was atfsent, but I was in my office, with 
the door sufficiently opened to hear everything 
which could be said by my wife and the child. 
And the following conversation took place : 

" 'What makes you so thoughtful and sad, my 
dear Lucy, since you went to confess ? It seems to 
me you should feel happier since you had the priv- 
ilege of confessing your sins.' 

" My child answered not a word; she remained 
absolutely silent. 

"After two or three minutes of silence, I heard 
the mother saying : ' Why do you weep, my dear 
Lucy ? are you sick ? ' 



1&-1 -*tfE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

*' JSut no answer yet from the child!" 

* ' You may well suppose that I was all attention : 
I had my secret suspicions about the dreadful mys- 
tery which had taken place. My heart throbbed 
with uneasiness and anger. 

" After a short silence, my wife spoke again to 
her child, but with sufficient firmness to decide her 
to answer at last. In a trembling voice, she said : 

"'Oh! dear mamma, if you knew what the 
priest has asked me, and what he said to me when I 
confessed, you would perhaps be as sad as I am.' 

u ' But what can he have said to you ? He is a 
holy man, you must have misunderstood him, if 
you think that he has said anything wrong.' 

" My child threw herself in her mother's arms, 
and answered with a voice, half suffocated with her 
sobs : ' Do not ask me to tell you what the priest 
has said — it is so shameful that I cannot repeat it — 
his words have stuck to my heart as the leech put 
to the arm of my little friend, the other day. ' 

'•' 'What does the priest think of me, for having 
put me such questions ? ' 

"My wife answered: 'I will go to the priest 
and will teach him a lesson. I have noticed my- 
self that he goes too far when questioning old peo- 
ple, but I had the hope he was more prudent with 
children. I ask of you, however, never to speak 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 195 

<of this to anybody, especially let not your poor 
father know anything about it, for he has little 
enough of religion already, and this would leave 
him without any at all.' 

"I could not refrain myself any longer : I ab- 
ruptly entered the parlor. My daughter threw 
herself into my arms; my wife screamed with ter- 
ror, and almost fell into a swoon. I said to my 
child : ' If you love me, put your hand on my 
heart, and promise never to go again to confess. 
Fear God, my child, love Him, and walk in His 
presence. For His eyes see you everywhere. Re- 
member that He is always ready to forgive and 
bless you every time you turn your heart to Him. 
Never place yourself again at the feet of a priest, 
to be defiled and degraded. ' 

"This my daughter promised to me. 

" When my wife had recovered from her surprise, 
I said to her: — 

" ' Madame, it is long since the priest became 
every tiling, and your husband nothing, to you ! 
There is a hidden and terrible power which governs 
you ; it is the power of the priest ; this you have 
often denied, but it can not be denied any longer ; 
the Providence of God has decided to-day that this 
power should be destroyed forever in my house ; I 
want to be the only ruler of my family ; from this 



196 THE PKIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

moment, the power of the priest over you is forevet 
abolished. Whenever you go and take your heart 
and your secrets to the feet of the priest, be so kind 
as not to come back any more into my house as my 
wife.' V 

This is one of the thousands of specimens of the 
peace of conscience brought to the soul through 
auricular confession. If it were my intention to 
publish a treatise on this subject, I could give 
many similar instances, but as I only desire to write 
a short chapter, I will adduce but one other fact to 
show the awful deception practised by the Church 
of Rome, when she invites persons to come to con- 
fession, under the pretext that peace to the soul 
will be the reward of their obedience. Let us hear 
the testimony of another living and unimpeachable 
witness, about this peace of the soul, before, dur- 
ing, and after auricular confession. In her remark- 
able book, " Personal Experience of Roman Cath- 
olicism," Miss Eliza Richardson writes (pages 34: 
and 35) :— * 

" Thus I silenced my foolish quibbling, and went 
on to test of a convert's fervor and sincerity in con- 

* This Miss Richardson is a well-known Protestant lady, in 
England, who turned Romanist,, became a nun, and returned 
to her Protestant church, after five years' personal experience 
of Popery. She is still living as an unimpeachable witness ot 
the depravity of auricular confession. 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 197 

■fession. And, here, was assuredly a fresh source 
of pain and disquiet, and one not so easily van- 
quished. The theory had appeared, as a whole, 
fair and rational ; but the reality, in some of its 
details, was terrible! 

"Divested, for the public gaze, of its darkest 
ingredients, and dressed up, in their theological 
works, in false and meretricious pretensions to truth 
and purity, it exhibited a dogma only calculated 
to exact a beneficial influence on mankind, and to 
prove a source of morality and usefulness. But 
<oh, as with all ideals, how unlike was the actual? 

"Here, however, I may remark, in passing, the 
effect produced upon my mind by the first sight of 
the older editions of ' the Garden of the Soul.' I 
remember the stumbling-block it was to me ; my 
•sense of womanly delicacy was shocked. It was a 
dark page in my experience when I first knelt at 
the feet of a mortal man to confess what should 
have been poured into the ear of God alone. I 

cannot dwell upon this Though I 

believe my confessor was, on the whole, as guarded 
as his manners were kind, at some things I was 
strangely startled, utterly confounded. 

"The purity of min^ and delicacy in which I 
had been nurtured, had not prepared me for such 
an ordeal ; and my own sincerity, and dread of 



198 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

committing a sacrilege, tended to augment tW 
painfullness of the occasion. One circumstance, 
especially, I will recall, which my fettered con- 
science persuaded me I was obliged to name. My 
distress and terror, doubtless, made me less explicit 
than I otherwise might have been. The question- 
ing, however, it elicited, and the ideas supplied by 
it, outraged my feelings to such an extent, that, 
forgetting all respect for my confessor, and care- 
less, even, at the moment, whether I received 
absolution or not, I hastily exclaimed, ' I cannot 
say a word more,' while the thought rushed into* 
my mind, ' all is true that their enemies say of 
them.' Here, however, prudence dictated to my 
questioner to put the matter no further; and the 
kind and almost respectful tone he immediately 
assumed, went far towards effacing an impression 
so injurious. On rising from my knees, when I 
should have gladly fled to any distance rather than 
have encountered his gaze, he addressed me in the 
most familiar manner on different subjects, and de- 
tained me some time in talking. What share I 
took in the conversation I never knew, and all that 
I remember, was by burning cheeks, and inability 
to raise my eyes from the ground. 

" Here I would not be supposed to be intention- 
Ally casting a stigma upon an individual. Nor am 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 199 

I throwing unqualified blame upon the priesthood. 
It is the system which is at fault, a system which 
teaches that things, even at the remembrance oi 
which degraded humanity must blush in the pres- 
ence of heaven and its angels, should be laid open,, 
dwelt upon, and exposed in detail, to the sullied 
ears of a corrupt and fallen fellow-mortal, who, of 
like passions with the penitent at his feet, is thereby 
exposed to temptations the most dark and danger- 
ous. But what shall we say of woman \ Draw a 
veil! Oh purity, modesty! and every womanly 
feeling! a veil as oblivion, over the fearfully dan- 
gerous experience thou art called to pass through V r 
(Pages 37 and 38.) 

u Ah! there are things which cannot be re- 
corded ! facts too startling, and at the same time 
too delicately intricate, to admit a public portrayal, 
to meet the public gaze ; but the cheek can blush 
in secret at the true images which memory evokes,, 
and the oppressed mind shrinks back in horror 
from the dark shadows which have saddened and 
overwhelmed it. I appeal to converts, to converts 
of the gentler sex, and ask them, fearlessly ask 
them, what was the first impression made on your 
minds and feelings by the confessional? I do not 
ask how subsequent familiarization has weakened 
the effects ; but when acquaintance was first made 



200 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

with it, how were you affected by it ? I was ot 
the impure, the already defiled, for to such * is 
sadly susceptible of being made a darker source of 
guilt and shame; I appeal to the pure minded and 
delicate, the pure in heart and sentiment. Was not 
your first impression one of inexpressible dread 
and bewilderment, followed by a sense of humilia- 
tion and degradation not easily to be defined or 
supported?" (Page 39.) "The memory of that 
time [first auricular confession] will ever be painful 
and abhorrent to me ; though subsequent experi- 
ence has thrown even that far into the background. 
It was my initiatory lesson upon subjects which 
ought never to enter the imagination of girlhood : 
my introduction into a region which ought never to 
be approached by the guileless and the pure." 
(Page 61.) " One or two individuals (Roman 
Catholics) soon formed a close intimacy with me, 
and discoursed with a freedom and plainness I had 
never before encountered. My acquaintances, how- 
ever, had been brought up in convents, or familiar 
with them for years, and I could not gainsay their* 
statement. 

" I was reluctant to believe more than I had ex- 
perienced. The proof, however, was destined to 

come in no dubious shape at no distant day 

A dark and sullied page of experience was fast 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 201 

opening upon me ; but so unaccustomed was the 
eye which scanned it, that I could scarcely at all, 
.at once, believe in its truth ! And it was of hypoc- 
risy so hateful, of sacrilege so terrible, and abuse 
so gross of all things pure and holy, and in the 
person of one bound by his vows, his position, and 
every law of his Church, as well as of God, to set 
a high example, that, for a time, all confidence in 
the very existence of sincerity and goodness was 
in danger of being shaken ; sacraments, deemed 
the most sacred, were profaned ; vows disregarded, 
vaunted secrecy of the confessional covertly in- 
fringed, and its sanctity abused to an unhallowed 
purpose ; while even private visitation was con- 
verted into a channel for temptation, and made the 
occasion of unholy freedom of words and manner. 
So ran the account of evil, and a dire account it 
was. By it all serious thoughts of religion were 
well nigh extinguished. The influence was fearful 
and polluting, the whirl of excitement inexpressi- 
ble ; I cannot enter into minute particulars here, 
every sense of feminine delicacy and womanly feel- 
ing shrink from such a task. This much, however, 
I can say, that I, in conjunction with two other 
young friends, took a journey to a confessor, an 
inmate of a religious house, who lived at some 
distance, to lay the affair before him, thinking that 



202 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

he would take some remedial measures adequate to 
the urgency of the case. He heard our united 
statements, expressed great indignation, and at 
once commended us each to write and detail the 
circumstances of the case to the Bishop of the dis- 
Irict. This we did, but of course never heard the 
*esult. The reminiscences of these dreary and 
wretched months seem now like some hideous and 
guilty dream. It was actual familiarization with, 
unholiest things! " (Page 63.) 

" The Romish religion teaches that if you omit 
to name anything in confession, however repugnant 
or revolting to purity, which you even doubt having 
committed, your subsequent confessions are thus 
rendered null and sacrilegious ; whilst if also incul- 
cates that sins of thought should be confessed in 
order that the confessor may judge of their mortal 
or venial character. What sort of a chain this 
links around the strictly conscientious, I would 
attempt to portray if I could. But it must have 
been worn to understand its torturing character ! 
Suffice it to say that, for months past, according to 
this standard, I had not made a good confession at 
all! And now, filled with remorse for my past 
sacrilegious sinfulness, I resolved on making a new 
general confession to the religieux alluded to. But 
this confessor's scrupulosity exceeded everything I 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 203 

had hitherto encountered. He told me some things 
were mortal sins which I had never before imag* 
ined could be such, and thus threw T so many fetters 
around my conscience, that a host of anxieties for 
my first general confession was awakened withii? 
me. I had no resource, then, but to re-make that, 
and thus I afresh entered on the bitter path I had 
deemed I should never have occasion again td 
tread. But if my first confession had lacerated my 
feelings, what was it to this one ? Words have no 
power, language has no expression to characterise 
the emotion that marked it ! 

"The difficulty I felt in making a full and ex- 
plicit avowal of all that distressed me, furnished 
my confessor with a plea for his assistance in the 
questioning department, and fain would I conceal- 
much of what passed then as a foul blot on my 
memory. I soon found that he made mortal sins 
of what my first confessor had professed to treat 
but lightly, and he did not scruple to say that I 
had never yet made a good confession at all. My 
ideas, therefore, became more complicated and 
confused as I proceeded, until, at length, I began 
to feel doubtful of ever accomplishing my task in 
any degree satisfactorily ; and my mind and mem- 
ory were positively racked to recall every iota of" 
every kind, real or imaginary, that might if omitted,. 



204 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

hereafter be occasion of uneasiness. Things, here- 
tofore held comparatively trifling, were recounted, 
and pronounced damnable sins ; and as, day after 
day, I knelt at the feet of that man, answering 
questions and listening to admonitions calculated 
to bow my very soul to the dust, I felt as though I 
should hardly be able to raise my head again! " 
(Page 63.) 

This is the peace which flows from auricular con- 
fession ! I solemnly declare that, except in a few 
cases, in which the confidence of the penitents is 
bordering on idiocy, or in which they have been 
transformed into immoral brutes, nine tenths of the 
multitudes who go to confess are obliged to recount 
some such desolate narrative as that of Miss Rich- 
ardson, when they are sufficiently honest to say the 
truth. 

The most fanatical apostles of auricular confes- 
sion cannot deny that the examination of con- 
science, which must precede confession, is a most 
difficult task, a task which, instead of filling the 
mind with peace, fills it with anxiety and serious 
fears. Is it then only after confession that they 
promise such peace ? But they know very well 

that this promise is also a cruel deception for 

to make a good confession the penitent has to re- 
late not only all his bad actions, but all his bad 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 205- 

thoughts arid desires, their number and various 
aggravating circumstances. But have they found a 
single one of their penitents who was certain to 
have remembered all the thoughts, the desires, all 
the criminal aspirations of the poor sinful heart \ 
They are well aware that to count the thoughts of 
the mind for days and weeks gone by, and to nar- 
rate those thoughts accurately at a subsequent 
period, are just as easy as to weigh and count the 
clouds which have passed over the sun in a three 
days' storm, a month after that storm is over. It 
is simply impossible — absurd ! This has never 
been, this will never be done. But there is no 
possible peace so long as the penitent is not sure 
that he has remembered, counted, and confessed 
every past sinful thought, word and deed. It is, 
then, impossible, yes ! it is morally and physically 
impossible for a soul to find peace through auricu- 
lar confession. If the law which says to every 
sinner: " You are bound, under pain of eternal 
damnation, to remember all your bad thoughts and 
confess them to the best of your memory," were 
not so evidently a satanic invention, it ought to be 
put among the most infamous ideas which have 
ever come out of the brain of fallen man. For who 
can remember and count the thoughts of a week, of 
■a day, nay, of an hour of this sinful life ? 



'206- ftiijfc PEIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

Wii^re js the traveler who has crossed the 
swampy forests of America, in the three months of 
warm weather, who could tell the number of mos- 
quitoes which have bitten him and drawn the blood 
from the veins ? What should that traveler think 
of the man who, seriously, would tell him "You 
must prepare yourself to die, if you do not tell me, 
to the best of your memory, how many times you 
have been bitten by the mosquitoes the last three 
summer months, when you crossed the swampy 
lands along the shores of the Mississippi and Mis- 
souri rivers ? " Would he not suspect that his mer- 
ciless inquirer had escaped from a lunatic asylum ? 

But it would be much more easy for that traveler 
to say how many times he has suffered from the 
bitings of the mosquitoes, than for the poor sinner to 
count the bad thoughts which have passed through 
his sinful heart, through any period of his life. 

Though the penitent is told that he must confess 
his thoughts only according to his best recollection, 
— he will neve?", never know if he has done his best 
efforts to remember everything : he will constantly 
fear lest he has not done his best to count and con* 
fess them correctly 

Every honest priest, if he speak the truth, will, 
at once, admit that his most intelligent and pious 
penitents, particularly among women, are con- 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 207 

stantly tortured by the fear of having omitted to 
confess some sinful deeds or thoughts. Many of 
them, after having already made several general 
confessions, are constantly urged by the pricking 
of their conscience, to begin afresh, in the fear that 
their first confessions had some serious defects. 
Those past confessions, instead of being a source of 
spiritual joy and peace, are, on the contrary, like 
so many Damocle's swords, day and night sus- 
pended over their heads, filling their souls with the 
terrors of an eternal death. Sometimes, the terror- 
stricken consciences of those honest and pious 
women tell them that they were not sufficiently 
contrite ; at another time, they reproach them for 
not having spoken sufficiently plain, on some things 
fitter to make them blush. 

On many occasions, too, it has happened that 
sins which one confessor had declared to be venial, 
and which had long ceased to be confessed, another 
more scrupulous than the first, would declare to be 
damnable. Every confessor, thus knows well that 
he proffers what is flagrantly false, every time he dis- 
misses his penitents after confession, with the sal- 
utation : " Go in peace, thy sins are forgiven thee." 

But it is a mistake to say that the soul does not 
find peace in auricular confession ; in many cases, 
peace is found. And if the reader desires to learn 



208 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

something of that peace, let him go to the grave- 
yard, open the tombs, and peep into the sepulchres. 
What awful silence ! What profound quiet ! What 
terrible and frightful peace ! ■ You hear not oven 
the motion of the worms that creep in, and the 
worms that creep out, as they feast upon the dead 
carcass. Such is the peace of the confessional ! 
The soul, the intelligence, the honor, the self- 
respect, the conscience, are, there, sacrificed. 
There, they must die ! Yes, the confessional is 
the very tomb of human conscience, a sepulchre of 
human honesty, dignity, and liberty ; the grave- 
yard of the human soul ! By its means, man, whom 
God hath made in his own image, is converted into 
the likeness of the beast that perishes; women, 
created by God to be the glory ahd helpmate of 
man, is transformed into the vile and trembling 
slave of the priest. In the confessional, man and 
woman attain to the highest degree of Popish per- 
fection ; they become as dry sticks, as dead branches, 
as silent corpses in the hands of their confessors. 
Their spirits are destroyed, their consciences are 
stiff, their souls are ruined. 

This is the supreme and perfect result achieved, 
in its highest victories, by the Church of Rome. 

There is, verily, peace to be found in auricular 
confession — yes, but it is the peace of the grave! 



CHAPTEE IX. 

THE DOGMA OF AURICULAR CONFESSION A SACRI- 
LEGIOUS IMPOSTURE. 

BOTH Roman Catholics and Protestants have 
fallen into very strange errors in reference to* 
the words of Christ : " Whosesoever sins ye remit, 
they are remitted unto them ; and whosesoever sins 
ye retain, they are retained." (St. John xx. 23.) 

The first have seen in this text the inalienable 
attributes of God of forgiving and retaining sins 
transferred to sinful men ; the second have most 
unwisely granted their position, even while at- 
tempting to refute their errors. 

A little more attention to the translation of the 
3d and 6th verses of chapter xiii. of Leviticus by 
the Septuagint would have prevented the former 
from falling into their sacrilegious errors, and would 
have saved the latter from wasting so much time 
in refuting errors which refute themselves. 

Many believe that the Septuagint Bible was the 
.Bible that was generally read and used by Jesus 



210 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

Christ and the Hebrew people in our Saviour's 
days. Its language was possibly the one spoken 
at times by Christ and understood by his hearers. 
When addressing his apostles and disciples on their 
duties towards the spiritual lepers to whom they 
were to preach the ways of salvation, Christ con- 
stantly followed the very expression of the Septua- 
gint. It was the foundation of his ^doctrine and 
the testimonial of his divine mission to which he 
constantly appealed : the book which was the 
greatest treasure of the nation. 

From the beginning to the end of the Old and 
the New Testaments, the bodily leprosy, with 
which the Jewish priest had to deal, is presented as 
the figure of the spiritual leprosy, sin, the penalty 
of which our Saviour had taken upon himself, that 
we might be saved by his death. That spiritual 
leprosy was the very thing for the cleansing of 
which he had come to this world — for which he 
lived, suffered, and died. Yes, the bodily leprosy 
with which the priests of the Jews had to deal, was 
the figure of the sins which Christ was to take 
away by shedding his blood, and with which his 
disciples were to deal till the end of the world. 

When speaking of the duties of the Hebrew 
priests towards the leper, our modern translations 
say: (Lev. xiii. v. 6,) " They will pronounce him 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 211 

clean," or (v. 3) "They will pronounce him un- 
clean. " 

But this action of the priests was expressed in 
a very different way by the Septuagint Bible, used 
by Christ and the people of his time. Instead of 
saying, "The priest shall pronounce the leper 
clean," as we read in our Bible, the Septuagint 
version says, "The priest shall clean (Jkaih&rei), or 
shall unclean (mianei) the leper." 

No one had ever been so foolish, among the 
Jews, as to believe that because their Bible said 
clean (Jcatharei), their priests had the miraculous 
and supernatural power of taking away and caring 
the leprosy : and we nowhere see that the Jewish 
priests ever had the audacity to try to persuade the 
people that they had ever received any supernatu- 
ral and divine power to "cleanse" the leprosy, 
because their God, through the Bible, had said of 
them : " They will cleanse the leper." Both priest 
and people were sufficiently intelligent and honest 
to understand and acknowledge that, by that ex- 
pression, it was only meant that the priest had the 
legal right to see if the leprosy was gone or not, 
they had only to look at certain marks indicated by 
God himself, through Moses, to know whether or 
not God had cured the leper before he presented 
himself to his priest. The leper, cured by the 



212 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

mercy and power of God alone, before presenting 
himself to the priest, was only declared to be clean 
by that priest. Thus the priest was said, by the 
Bible, to "clean" the leper, or the leprosy ; — and 
in the opposite case to u unclean." (Septuagint r 
Leviticus xiii. v. 3, 6.) 

Now, let us put what God has said, through 
Moses, to the priests of the old law, in reference to 
the bodily leprosy, face to face with what God has 
said, through his Son Jesus, to his apostles and his 
whole church, in reference to the spiritual leprosy 
from which Christ has delivered us on the cross. 



Septuagint Bible, Levit. xiii. New Testament, John xx. 23. 



"And the Priest shall look 
on the plague, in the skin of 
the flesh, and when the hair 
in the plague is turned white, 
and the plague in sight be 
deeper than the skin of his 
flesh, it is a plague of leprosy; 
and the priest shall look on 
him and unclean him (mi- 
anei). 

"And the Priest shall look 
on him again the seventh day, 
and if the plague is somewhat 
dark and does not spread on 
the skin, the Priest shall clean 
him (Jcatharei) : and he shall 
wash his clothes and bb 
clean " (katharos). 



" Whosesoever sins ye* re- 
mit, they are remitted unto 
them; and whosesoever sins 
ye retain they are retained." 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 213 

The analogy of the diseases with which the Ile- 
>rew priests and the iibciples of Christ had to deal, 
is striking : so the analogy of the expressions pre- 
scribing their respective duties is also striking. 

When God said to the priests of the Old Law, 
''You shall clean the leper," and he shall be 
" cleaned," or "you shall unclean the leper," and 
he shall be "uncleaned," he only gave the legal 
power to see if there were any signs or indications 
by which they could say that God had cured the 
leper before he presented himself to the priest. So, 
when Christ said to his apostles and his whole 
church, " Whosesover sins ye shall forgive, shall be 
forgiven unto them," he only gave them the author- 
ity to say when the spiritual lepers, the sinners, 
had reconciled themselves to God, and received 
their pardon from him and him alone, previous to 
the coming to the apostles. 

It is true that the priests of the Old Law had 
regulations from God, through Moses, which they 
had to follow, by which they could see and say 
whether or not the leprosy was gone. 

If the plague spread not on the skin the 

priest shall clean him but if the priest see that 

the scab spread on the skin, it is leprosy : he shall 
"unclean" him. (Septuagint, Levit. xiii. 3, 6.) 

Should any be convinced that Christ spoke the 



214: THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

Hebrew of that day and not the Greek, and \tts&k 
the Old Testament in Hebrew, we have only to say 
that the Hebrew is precisely the same as the 
Greek — the priest is said to clean or unclean as the 
case may be, precisely as in the Septuagint. 

So Christ had given to his apostles and his whole 
church equally, infallible rules and marks to deter- 
mine whether or not the spiritual leprosy was gone, 
that they might clean the leper and tell him, 



I clean thee, 

or 
I unclean thee. 



I forgive thy sins, 

or 
I retain thy sins. 



I would have, indeed, many passages of the Old; 
and [New Testaments to copy, were it my intention 
to reproduce all the marks given by God himself, 
through his prophets, or by Christ and apostles, 
that his ambassadors might know when they should 
say to the sinner that he was delivered from his 
iniquities. I will give only a few. 

First: "And he said unto them, go ye into all 
the world and preach the gospel to every creature : 

" He that belie veth and is baptised, shall be 
saved : but he that belie veth not shall be damned. '* 
(Mark xvi. 15, 16.) 

What a strange want of memory in the Saviour 
of the World ! He has entirely forgotten that 
" auricular confession," besides faith and baptism; 
are necessary to be saved ! To those who believe 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 215 

and are baptised, the apostles and the church are 
authorized by Christ to say : 

"You are saved ! your sins are forgiven : I clean 
you!" 

Second: " And when ye come into a house, sa- 
lute it. 

"And if the house be worthy, let your peace 
come upon it : but if it be not worthy, let your 
peace return to you. 

"And whosoever shall not'rec2ive you nor hear 
your words, when ye dapart out of that house or 
city, shake off the dust of your feet. 

" Verily, verily I say nnto you, it shall be more 
tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, in. 
the day of Judgment, than for that city." (Matt., 
x. 12-15.) 

Here, again, tne Great Physician tells his disci- 
ples when the leprosy will be gone, the sins for- 
given, the sinner purified. It is when the lepers, 
the sinners, will have welcomed his messengers,. 
heard and received their message. Not a word 
about auricular confession : this great panacea of 
the Pope was evidently ignored by Christ. 

Third : "If ye forgive men their trespasses, your 
heavenly father will also forgive you, — but if ye 
forgive not men their trespasses, neither wiL your 
Father forgive your trespasses." (Matt. vi. If 15.) 



216 THE PKIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

Was it possible to give a more striking and sim- 
ple rule to the apostles and the disciples that they 
might know when they could say to a sinner : 
** Thy sins are forgiven!" or, " thy sins are re- 
tained ?" Here the double keys of heaven are 
most solemnly and publicly given to every child of 
Adam ! As sure as there is a God in heaven and 
that Jesus died to save sinners, so it is sure that if 
one forgives the trespasses of his neighbor for the 
dear Saviour's sake, believing in him, his own sins 
have been forgiven ! To the end of the world, 
then, let the disciples of Christ say to the sinner, 
"Thy sins are forgiven," not because you have 
confessed your sins to me, but for Christ's sake ; 
the evidence of which is that you have forgiven 
those who had offended you. 

Fourth: "And behold, a certain one stood up 
and tempted nim, saying : Master, what shall I do 
to inherit eternal life ? 

" He said unto him : What is written in the 
law ? how readest thou 1 

""And he, answering, said: Thou shalt love the 
Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy 
soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy 
mind ; and thy neighbor as thyself. 

" And he said unto him : Thou hast answered 
right; this do and thou shalt live." (Lukex. 25-28.) 



217 

What a fine opportunity for the Saviour to speak 
of "auricular confession" as a means given by 
him to be saved ! But here again Christ forgets 
that marvellous medicine of the Popes. Jesus, 
speaking absolutely like the Protestants, bids his 
messengers to proclaim pardon, forgiveness of sins, 
not to those who confess their sins to a man, but to 
those who love God and their neighbor. And so 
will his true disciples and messengers do to the end 
of the world ! 

Fifth : " And when he (the prodigal son) came to 
himself, he said : I will arise and go to my father, 
and I will say unto him, Father, I have sinned 
against Heaven and before thee : and I am not wor- 
thy to be called thy son : make me as one of thy 
hired servants. 

"And he arose and came to his father. But 
when he was yet a great way off, his father saw 
him and had compassion, and ran, and he fell on 
his neck and kissed him. 

" And the son said, Father, I have sinned against 
Heaven and in thy sight, and am not worthy to be 
called thy son. 

" But the father said to his servants : Bring 
forth the best robe, and put it on him : put a ring 
on his hand and shoes on his feet, and bring hither 
the fatted calf. For this my son was dead, and he is 



218 THE PKIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

alive again, he was lost and lie is found/' (Luke 
xv. 17-24.) 

Apostles and disciples of Christ, wherever you 
will hear, on this land of sin and misery, the cry of 
the Prodigal Son: "I will arise and go to my 
Father," every time you see him, not at your feet, 
but at the feet of his trcre Father, crying, " Father, 
I have sinned against thee," unite your hymns of 
joy to the joyful songs of the angels of God ; re- 
peat into the ears of that redeemed sinner the sen- 
tence just fallen from the lips of the Lamb, whose 
blood cleanses us from all our sins ; say to him, 
" Thy sins are forgiven." 

Sixth: u Come unto me all ye who labor, and 
are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take 
my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek 
and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your 
souls ; for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. " 
(Matt. xi. 28-30.) 

Though these words were pronounced more than 
1800 years ago, they were pronounced this very 
morning : they come at every hour of day and 
night from the lips and the heart of Christ to every 
one of us sinners. It is just now that Jesus says 
to every sinner, "Come to me and I will give ye 
rest." Christ has never said and he will never say 
to any sinner, " Go to my priests and they will 



THE PRIEST, WuAlAfl AND CONFESSIONAL. 219^ 

give you rest." But he has said, "Come to me, 
and I will give you rest." 

Let the apostles and disciples of the Saviour, 
then, proclaim peace, pardon, and rest, not to the 
sinners who come to confess to them all their sins, 
but to those who go to Christ, and him alone, for 
peace, pardon and rest. For " Come to me," from 
Jesus' lips, has never meant — it will never mean — 
" Go and confess to the priests." 

Christ would never have said: "My yoke is* 
easy and my burden light" if he had instituted 
auricular confession. For the world has never- 
seen a yoke so heavy, humiliating, and degrading, 
as auricular confession. 

Seventh: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in 
the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be 
lifted up ; that whosoever believeth in him should 
not perish, but have eternal life." (John iii. 14.) 

Did Almighty God require any auricular confes- 
sion in the wilderness, from the sinners, when he- 
ordered Moses to lift up the serpent ? No ! Neith- 
er did Christ speak of auricular confession as a con- 
dition of salvation to those who look to Him when 
He dies on the Cross to pay their debts A free- 
pardon was offered to the Israelites who looked to 
the uplifted serpent. A free pardon is offered b^r 
Christ crucified to all those who look to Him with- 



"220 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

faith, repentance, and love. To such sinners the 
ministers of Christ, to the end of the world, are 
-authorized to say : " Your sins are forgiven " — we 
" clean your leprosy." 

Eighth : "For God so loved the world, that He 
gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever be- 
lieveth in Him should not perish, but have eternal 
life. 

" For God sent not his Son to condemn the 
world, but that the world, through him, might be 
saved. 

"He that belie veth in him is not condemned; 
but he that believeth not is condemned already, 
because he hath not believed in the name of the 
only begotten Son of God. 

"And this is the condemnation, that light is 
come into the world, and men loved darkness rather 
than light, because their deeds were evil. For 
every one that doeth evil, hateth the light, neither 
cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be re- 
proved. 

" But he that doeth truth, cometh to the light, 
that his deeds may be manifest, that they are 
wrought in God." (John iii. 16-21.) 

In the religion of Rome, it is only through auric- 
ular confession that the sinner can be reconciled to 
•God ; it is only after he has heard a most detailed 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 221 

confession of all the thoughts, desires, and actions 
of the guilty one that he can tell him : " Thy sins 
are forgiven." But in the religion of the Gospel, 
the reconciliation of the sinner with his God is ab- 
solutely and entirely the work of Christ. That 
marvellous forgiveness is a free gift offered not for 
any outward act of the sinner : nothing is required 
from him but faith, repentance, and love. These 
are marks by which the leprosy is known to be 
cured and the sins forgiven. To all those who have 
these marks, the ambassadors of Christ are author- 
ized to say, "Your sins are forgiven, " we "clean" 
you. 

Ninth : "The publican, standing afar off, would 
not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but 
smote upon his breast, saying: " God! be merci- 
ful to me a sinner ! 

"I tell you, this man went down to his house 
justified." (Luke xviii. 13-14.) Yes! justified! 
and without auricular confession ! 

Ministers and disciples of Christ, when you see 
the repenting sinner smiting his breast and crying: 
"Oh, God, have mercy upon me, a sinner !" shut 
your ears to the deceptive words of Rome, or its 
ugly tail the Ritualists, who tell you to force that 
redeemed sinner to make to you a special confes- 
sion of all his sins to get his pardon. But go to 



222 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

him and deliver the message of love, peace, and 
mercy, which you received from Christ: " Thy 
sins are forgiven ! I ' clean ' thee !" 

Tenth : "And one of the malefactors which were 
hanged, railed on him, saying : " If thou be Christ 
save thyself and us. 

" But the other, answering, rebuked him, say- 
ing: Dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art in 
the same condemnation ? 

" And we indeed justly, for we receive the due 
reward of our deeds : but this man hath done notli - 
ing amiss. 

"And he said unto Jesus: Remember me when 
thou comest into thy Kingdom. And Jesus said unto 
him : Verily I say unto thee, to-day, shalt thou be 
with me in Paradise. (Luke xxiii. 39-43.) 

Yes, in the Paradise or Kingdom of Christ, with- 
out auricular confession ! From Calvary, when his 
hands are nailed to the cross, and his blood is 
poured out, Christ protests against the great im- 
posture of auricular confession. Jesus will be, to 
the end of the world, what he was, there, on the 
cross: the sinner's friend; always ready to hear 
and pardon those who invoke his name and trust 
in him. 

Disciples of the gospel, wherever you hear the 
-cry of the repenting sinner to the crucified Saviour : 



WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 223 

"Remember me when thou comest to thy King- 
dom,' 5 go and give the assurance to that penitent 
and redeemed child of Adam, that " his sins are 
forgiven :" — " clean the leper." 

Eleventh: "Let the wicked forsake his ways, 
and the unrighteous man his thoughts : and let him 
return to the Lord, and he will have mercy upon 
him ; and to our God, for he will abundantly par- 
don." (Isa. lv. 7, 8.) 

" Wash you and make you clean, put away the 

/?vils of your doings from before mine eyes : cease 

\o do evil, learn to do well ; seek judgment, re- 

\eve the oppressed ; judge the fatherless, and 

^.lead for the widow. 

" Come now, and let us reason together, saith 
the Lord : though your sins be as scarlet, they will 
be as white as snow ; though they be red like crim- 
son, they shall be as wool." (Isa. i, 16-18.) 

Here are the landmarks of the mercy of God, 
put by his own Almighty hands ! Who will dare 
to remove them in order to put others in their 
place ? lias ever Christ touched these landmarks ? 
lias he ever intimated that anything but faith, repen- 
tance, and love, with their blessed fruits, were requir- 
ed from the sinned to secure his pardon ? No — never. 

Have the prophets of the Old Testament or the 
apostles of the New, ever said a word about " aur- 



224 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

icular confession," as a condition for pardon ? ~No 
— never. 

What does David say? "I confess my sins 
unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I 
said, I will confess my transgression unto the 
Lord, and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin." 
(Psalm xxxii. 5.) 

What does the apostle John say? "If we say 
that we have fellowship with him, and walk in dark- 
ness, we lie, and do not the truth. 

" But if we walk in the light, as he is in the 
light, we have fellowship with one another, and the 
blood of Jesus Christ, his son, cleanseth us from 
sin ; 

" If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, 
and the truth is not in us. 

" If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just 
to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all un- 
righteousness." (1 John i. 6-9.) 

This is the language of the prophets and apos* 
ties. This is the language of the Old and the New 
Testament. It is to God and him alone that the 
sinner is requested to confess his sins, It is from 
God and him alone that he can expect his pardon. 

The apostle Paul writes fifteen epistles, in which 
he speaks of all the duties imposed upon human 
conscience by the laws of God and the prescriptions 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 225 

of the Gospel of Christ. A thousand times be 
speaks to sinners, and tells them how they may be 
reconciled to God. But does he say a word about 
auricular confession ? No — not one ! 

The apostles Peter, John, Jude, address six let- 
ters to the different churches, in which they state, 
with the greatest detail, what the different classes 
of sinners have to do to be saved. But again, not; 
a single word comes from them about auricular 
confession. 

St. James says : " Confess your faults one to 
another." But this is so evidently the repetition 
of what the Saviour had said about the way of 
reconciliation between those who had offended cue 
another, and it is so far from the dogma of a secret: 
confession to the priest that the most zealous sup- 
porters of auricular confession have not dared to 
mention that text in favor of their modern invention.. 

But if we look in vain in the Old and New Testa* 
ments for a word in favor of auricular confession 
as a dogma, will it be possible to find that dogma 
in the records of the first thousand years of Chris*- 
tianity ? No ! for the more one studies the re- 
cords of the Christian Church during those first ten 
centuries, the more he will be convinced that aur- 
icular confession is a miserable imposture of tlie 
darkest days of the world and the church.. 



226 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

And so it is with the lives of several of the 
early fathers of the church. Not a word is said of 
their confessing their sins to anyone, though a 
thousand things are said of them which are of a far 
less interesting character. 

So it is with the life of St. Mary, the Egyptian. 
The minute history of her life, her public scandals, 
her conversion, long prayers and fastings in soli- 
tude, the detailed history of her last days and of 
her death, all these we have ; but not a single word 
is said of her confessing to anyone. It is evident 
that she lived and died without ever having thought 
of going to confess. 

The deacon Pontius wrote also the life of St. 
Cyprian, who lived in the third century ; but he 
does not say a word of his ever having gone to con- 
fession, or having heard the confession of anyone. 
More than that, we learn from this reliable histor- 
ian that Cyprian was excommunicated by the Pope 
of Rome, called Stephen, and that he died without 
having ever asked from anyone absolution from 
that excommunication ; a thing which has not 
seemingly prevented him from going to Heaven, 
since the infallible Popes of Rome, who succeeded 
Stephen, have assured us that he is a saint. 

Gregory of Xyssa has given ns the life of St. 
Gregory, of Neo-Csesarea, of the third century, and 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 227 

•of St. Basil, of the fourth century. But neither 
speak of their having gone to confess, or having 
heard the secret and auricular confession of anyone. 
It is thus evident thot those two great and good 
men, with all the Christians of their times, lived 
and died without ever knowing anything about the 
dogma of auricular confession. 

We have the interesting life of St. Ambrose, of 
the fourth century, by Paulinus ; and from that 
T^ook it is evident, as two and two make fonr, that 
St. Ambrose never went to confess. 

The history of St. Martin, of Tours, of the fourth 
century, by Severus Sulpicius, of the fifth century, 
is another monument left by antiquity to prove that 
there was no dogma of auricular confession in those 
days ; for St. Martin has evidently lived and died 
without ever going to confess. 

Pallas and Theoderet have left us the history of 
the life, sufferings, and death of St. Chrysostom, 
Bishop of Constantinople, who died at the begin- 
ning of the fifth century, and both are absolutely 
mute about that dogma. No fact is more evident, 
by what they say, than that holy and eloquent 
bishop lived and died also without ever thinking of 
going to confess. 

No man has ever more perfectly entered into the 
details of a Christian life, when writing on that 



228 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

subject, than the learned and eloquent St. Jerome,, 
of the fifth century. Many of his admirable let- 
ters are written to the priests of his day, and to- 
several Christian ladies and virgins, who had 
requested him to give them some good advice 
about the best way to lead a Christian life. His 
letters, which form five volumes, are most interest- 
ing monuments of the manners, habits, views, 
morality, practical and dogmatical faith of the first 
ceuturies of the church ; they are a most unan 
swerable evidence that auricular confession, as a 
dogma, had then no existence, and is quite a mod- 
ern invention. Would it be possible that Jerome 
had forgotten to give some advices or rules about 
auricular confession, to the priests of his time who 
asked his council about the best way to fulfil their 
ministerial duties, if it had been one of their duties 
to hear the confessions of the people ? But we 
challenge the most devoted modern priest of Eome 
to find a single line in all the letters of St. Jerome 
in favor of auricular confession. In his admirable 
letter to the Priest Nepotianus, on the life of 
priests, vol. II., p. 203, when speaking of the rela- 
tions of priests with women, he says : " Solus cum 
sola, secreto et absque arbitrio, vel teste, non sedeas. 
Si fainiliarius est aliquid loquendum, habet nutri- 
cem majorem domus, virginem, viduam, vel mari- 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 229 

tatam; non est tarn inhumana ut nullum prseter te 
habeat cui se audeat credere." 

"Never sit in secret, alone, in a retired place, 
with a female who is alone with you. If she has 
any particular thing to tell you, let her take the 
female attendant of the house, a young girl, a 
widow, or a married woman. She cannot be so 
ignorant of the rules of human life as to expect to 
have you as the only one to whom she can trust 
those things." 

It would be easy to cite a great number of other 
remarkable passages where Jerome showed himself 
the most determined and implacable opponent of 
those secret tete-d-tete between a priest and a 
female, which, under the plausible pretext of mu- 
tual advice and spiritual consolation, are generally 
nothing but bottomless pits of infamy and perdi- 
tion for both. But this is enough. 

We have also the admirable life of St. Paulina, 
written by St. Jerome. And, though in it, he gives 
us every imaginable detail of her life when young, 
married, and widow ; though he tells us even how 
her bed was composed of the simplest and rudest 
materials ; he has not a word about her ever hav- 
ing gone to confess. Jerome speaks of the 
acquaintances of St. Paulina, and gives their 
names ; he enters into the minutest details of her 



230 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

long voyages, her charities, her foundations of 
monasteries for men and women, her temptations, 
human frailties, heroic virtues, her macerations, 
and her holy death ; but he has not a word to say 
about the frequent or oracular confessions of St. 
Paulina; not a word about her wisdom in the 
choice of a prudent and holy (?) confessor. 

He tells us that after her death, her body was 
carried to her grave on the shoulders of bishops 
and priests, as a token of their profound -respect 
for the saint. But he never says that any of those 
priests sat there, in a dark corner with her, and 
forced her to reveal to their ears the secret history 
of all the thoughts, desires, and human frailties of 
her long and eventful life. Jerome is an unim- 
peachable witness that his saintly and noble friend, 
St. Paulina, lived and died without having ever 
thought of going to confess. 

Possidius has left us the interesting life of 
St. Augustine, of the fifth century ; and, again, 
it is in vain that we look for the place and time 
when that celebrated Bishop of Hippo went to 
confess, or heard the secret confessions of his 
people. 

More than that, St. Augustine has written a 
most admirable book called: " Confessions," in. 
which he gives us the history of his life. With. 



THE PRIEST, "WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 231 

that marvellous book in hand we follow him step 
by step, wherever he goes ; we attend with him 
those celebrated schools, where his faith and mo- 
rality were so sadly wrecked ; he takes us with him 
into the garden where, wavering between heaven 
and hell, bathed in tears, he goes under the fig-tree' 
and cries u Oh Lord! how long will I remain in 
my iniquities!" Our soul thrills with emotions, 
with his soul, when we hear with him, the sweet 
and mysterious voice: "Tolle! lege!" take and 
read. We run with him to the place where he has- 
left his gospel book ; with a trembling hand, we 
open it and we read : " Let us walk honestly as in 
the day. . . .put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ. . . ." 
(Eom. xiii. 13, 14.) 

That incomparable book of St. Augustine makes 
us weep and shout with joy with him ; it initiates 
lis into all his most secret actions, to all his sor- 
rows, anxieties, and joys ; it reveals and unveils 
his whole life. It tells us where he goes, with 
whom he sins, and with whom he praises God ; it 
makes us pray, sing, and bless the Lord with him. 
Is it possible that Augustine could have been to 
confess without telling us when, where, and to- 
whom he made that auricular confession ? Could 
lie have received the absolution and pardon of his 
sins from his confessor, without making us partak- 



232 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

crs of his joys, and requesting us to bless that con- 
fessor with him ? 

JBut it is in vain that you look in that book for a 
single word about auricular confession. That book 
is an unimpeachable witness that both Augustine 
and his saintly mother, Monica, whom it mentions 
io often, lived and died without ever having been 
4jq confess. That book may be called the most 
crushing evidence to prove that "the dogma of 
auricular confession " is a modern imposture. 

From the beginning to the end of that book, we 
see that Augustine believed and said that God 
alone could forgive the sins of men, and that it was 
to liim alone that men had to confess in order to be 
pardoned. If he writes his confession, it is only 
that the world might know how God had been mer- 
ciful to him, and that they might help him to praise 
and bless his merciful heavenly father. In the 
teith book of his Confessions, Chapter III., Augus- 
$iae protests against the idea that men could do 
anything to cure the spiritual leper, or forgive the 
sins of their fellow-men ; here is his eloquent pro- 
test.: "Quid mihi ergo est cum hominibus ut audi- 
ani eonfessiones, meas, quasi ipsi sanaturi sint 
languores meas ? Curiosum genus ad cognescend- 
am vitam alienam ; desidiosum ad corrigend- 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 233 

" What have I to do with men that they should 
liear my confessions, as if they were able to heal my 
infirmities? The human race is very curious to 
know another person's life, but very lazy to cor- 
rect it." 

Before Augustine had built up that sublime and 
imperishable monument against auricular confes- 
sion, St. John Chrysostom had raised his eloquent 
voice against it in his homily on the 50th Psalm, 
where, speaking in the name of the church, he said : 
u ¥e do not request you to go to confess your sins 
to any of your fellow-men, but only to God ! 

Nestorius, of the fourth century, the predecessor 
of John Chrysostom, had, by a public defence, 
which the best Roman Catholic historians have 
liad to acknowledge, solemnly forbidden the prac- 
tice of auricular confession. For, just as there has 
always been thieves, drunkards, and malefactors in 
the world, so there has always been men and 
women who, under the pretext of opening their 
minds to each other for mutual comfort and edifi- 
cation, were giving themselves to every kind of 
iniquity and lust. The celebrated Chrysostom was 
only giving the sanction of his authority to what 
his predecessor had done, when, thundering against 
the newly-born monster, he said to the christians 
of his time, " We do not ask you to go and confess 



234 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

jour iniquities to a sinful man for pardon — but only 
to God." (Homily on 50th Psalm.) 

Auricular confession originated with the early 
heretics, especially with Marcion. Bellarmin 
speaks of it as something to be practiced. But let 
us hear what the contemporary writers have to say 
on the question. 

" Certain women were in the habit of going to 
the heretic Marcion to confess their sins to him. 
But, as he was smitten with their beauty, and they 
loved him also, they abandoned themselves to sin 
with him." 

Listen now to what St. Basil in his commentary 
on Ps. xxxvii, says of confession : 

"I have not come before the world to make a 
confession with my lips. But I close my eyes, and 
confess my sins in the secret of my heart. Before 
thee, O God, I pour out my sighs, and thou alone 
art the witness. My groans are within my soul. 
There is no need of many words to confess : sorrow 
and regret are the best confession. Yes, the lamen- 
tations of the soul, which thou art pleased to hear, 
are the best confession." 

Chrysostom, in his homily, De Paenitentia, vol. 
IY., col. 901, has the following: "You need no 
witnesses of your confession. Secretly acknowledge 
your sins, and let God alone hear you." 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 23£ 

In his homily Y., De incomprehensibili Dei 
natura, vol. I., he says: "Therefore, I beseech 
you, always confess your sins to God! I, in no 
way, ask you to confess them to me. To God alona 
should you expose the wounds of your soul, and 
from him alone expect the cure. Go to him, then, 
and you shall not be cast off, but healed. For, 
before you utter a single word, God knows your 
prayer. ' ' 

In his commentary on Heb. XII., horn. XXXI., 
vol. XII., p. 289, he further says : " Let us not be 
content with calling ourselves sinners. But let us 
examine and number our sins. And then I do not 
tell you to go and confess them, according to the 
caprice of some ; but I will say to you, with the 
prophet : ' Confess your sins before God, acknowl- 
edge your iniquities at the feet of your Judge ; 
pray in your heart and your mind, if not with your 
tongue, and you shall be pardoned.' " 

In his homily on Ps. I., vol. Y., p. 589, the 
same Chrysostoin says : " Confess your sins every 
day in prayer. Why should you hesitate to do so? 
I do not tell you to go and confess to a man, sin- 
ner as you are, and who might despise you if he 
knew your faults. But confess them to God, who< 
can forgive them to you." 

In his admirable homily IY., De Lazaro, vol. I.,. 



236 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

p. 757, he exclaims: " Why, tell me, should you 
be ashamed to confess your sins ? Do we compel 
you to reveal them to a man, who might, one day, 
throw them into your face ? Are you commanded 
to confess them to one of your equals, who could 
publish them and ruin you ? What we ask of you 
is simply to show the sores of your soul to your 
Lord and Master, who is also your friend, your 
guardian, and physician." 

In a small work of Chrysostom's, entitled, u Cate- 
chesis ad illuminandos," vol. II., p. 210, we read 
these remarkable words : " What we should most 
■admire is not that God forgives our sins, but that 
he does not disclose them to anyone, nor wishes us 
to do so. What he demands of us is to confess our 
transgressions to him alone to obtain pardon." 

St. Augustine, in his beautiful homily on the 
31st Ps., says: u I shall confess my sins to God, 
and He will pardon all my iniquities. And such 
confession is not made with the lips, but with the 
heart only. I had hardly opened my mouth to con- 
fess my sins when they were pardoned, for God had 
already heard the voice of my heart." 

In the edition of the Fathers by Migne, vol. 67, 
pp. 614, 615, we read : "About the year 390, the 
office of penitentiary was abolished in the church in 
consequence of a great scandal given by a woman 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 23T 

who publicly accused herself of having committed 
a crime against chastity with a deacon." 

I know that the advocates of auricular confession 
present to their silly dupes several passages of the 
Holy Fathers, where it is said that sinners were 
going to that priest or that bishop to confess their 
sins : but this is a most dishonest way of present- 
ing that fact — for it is evident to all those who are 
a little acquainted with the church history of those 
times, that these referred only to the public confes- 
sions for public transgressions through the office 
of the penitentiary. 

The office of the penitentiary was this : — In every 
large city, a priest or minister was specially ap- 
pointed to preside over the church meetings where 
the members who had committed public sins were 
obliged to confess then publicly before the assem- 
bly, in order to be reinstated in the privileges of 
their membership : and that minister had the charge 
of reading or pronouncing the sentence of pardon 
granted by the church to the guilty ones before 
they could be admitted again to communion. This 
was perfectly in accordance with what St. Paul had 
done with regard to the incestuous one of Corinth ; 
that scandalous sinner who had cast obloquy on the 
Christian name, but who, after confessing and 
weeping over his sins before the church, obtained 



238 THE T±liJLol, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

Lis pardon — not from a priest in whose ears lie had 
whispered all the details of his incestuous inter- 
course, but from the whole church assembled. St. 
Paul gladly approves the Church of Corinth in thus 
absolving, and receiving again in their midst, a 
wandering but repenting brother. 

"When the Holy Fathers of the first centuries 
speak of "confession" they invariably understand 
"public confessions" and not auricular confes- 
sion. 

There is as much difference between such public 
confessions and auricular confessions, as there is 
between heaven and hell, between God and his 
great enemy, Satan. 

Public confession, then, dates from the time of 
the apostles, and is still practiced in Protestant 
churches of our day. But auricular confession was 
unknown by the first disciples of Christ ; as it is 
rejected to-day, with horror, by all the true fol- 
lowers of the Son of God. 

Erasmus, one of the most learned Poman Cath- 
olics who opposed the Reformation in the sixteenth 
century, so admirably begun by Luther and Calvin, 
fearlessly and honestly makes the following declar- 
ation in his treatise, De Psenitentia, Dis. 5 : " This 
institution of penance [auricular confession] began 
rather of some tradition of the Old or New Testa- 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 239 

ment. But our divines, not advisedly considering 
what the old doctors do say, are deceived, that 
which they say of general and open confession, they 
wrest, by and by, to this secret and privy kind of 
confession." 

It is a public fact, which no learned Roman Cath- 
olic has ever denied, that auricular confession be- 
came a dogma and obligatory practice of the church 
only at the Council of Lateran in the year 1215, 
under the Pope Innocent III. Not a single trace 
of auricular confession, as a dogma, can be found 
before that year. 

Thus, it has taken more than twelve hundred 
years of efforts for Satan to bring out this master- 
piece of his inventions to conquer the world and 
destroy the souls of men. 

Little by little, that imposture had crept into the 
world, just as the shadows of a stormy night creep 
without anyone being able to note the moment 
when the first rays of light gave way before the 
dark clouds. We know very well when the sun 
was shining, we know when it was very dark all 
over the world ; but no one can tell positively when 
the first rays of light faded away. So saith the 
Lord : 

" The kingdom of Heaven is likened unto a man 
which sowed good seed in his field. 



240 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

" But while men slept, his enemy came and 
sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 

" But when the blade was sprung up, and brought 
forth fruit, there appeared the tares also. 

" So the servants of the householder came and 
said unto him : Sir, didst not thou sow good seed 
in thy field ? From whence then hath it tares ? 

"He said unto them: An enemy hath done 
this." (Matt. xiii. 24-28.) 

Yes, the Good Master tells us that the enemy 
sowed those tares in his field during the night — 
when men were sleeping. 

But he does not tell us precisely the hour of the 
night when the enemy cast the tares among the 
wheat. 

However, if anyone likes to know how fearfully 
dark was the night which covered the " Kingdom," 
and how cruel, implacable, and savage was the 
enemy who sowed the tares, let him read the tes- 
timony of the most devoted and learned cardinals 
whom Rome has ever had, Baronius, Annals, 
Anno 900 : 

"It is evident that one can scarcely believe 
what unworthy, base, execrable, and abominable 
things the holy Apostolic See, which is the pivot 
upon which the whole Catholic Church revolves, 
was forced to endure, when princes of the age, 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 241 

though Christians, arrogated to themselves the 
election of the Roman Pontiffs. Alas, the shame ! 
alas, the grief! What monsters, horrible to be- 
hold, were then intruded on the Holy See ! What 
evils ensued ! What tragedies they perpetrated ! 
With what pollutions was this See, though itself 
without spot, then stained ! With what corrup- 
tions infected ! With tchat filthiness defiled ! And 
by these things blackened with perpetual infamy ! 
(Baronius, Annals, Anno, 900.) 

" Est plane, ut vix aliquis credat, immo, nee vix 
quidem sit crediturus, nisi suis inspiciat ipse oculis, 
manibusque contractat, quam indigna, quamque 
turpia atque defurmia, execranda insuper et abom- 
inanda sit coacta pati sacrosancta apostolica sedes, 
in cujus cardine universa Ecclesia catholica vertitur, 
cumprincipes sseculi hujus, quantumlibet christiani, 
hac tarn en ex parte dicendi tyrrani ssevissimi, ar- 
rogaverunt sibi, tirannice, electionem Romanorum 
pontificum. Quot tunc ab eis, proh pudor ! pro 
dolor ! in eamdem sedem, angelis reverandam, visu 
horrencla intrusa sunt monstra ? Quot ex eis oborta 
sunt mala, consummata^ tragedian ! Quibus tunc 
ipsam sine macula et sine ruga contigit aspergi 
sordibus, purtoribus infici, in quinati spurcitiis, ex 
bisque perpetual infamia denigrari !" 



CHAPTEK X. 



GOD COMPELS THE CHURCH OF ROME TO CONFESS THE 
ABOMINATIONS OF AURICULAR CONFESSION. 

THE Priests of Pome resort to various means in 
order to deceive the people on the immorality 
resulting from auricular confession. One of their 
favorite stratagems is to quote some disconnected 
passages from theologians, recommending caution 
on the part of the priest, in questioning his peni- 
tents on delicate subjects, should he see or appre- 
hend any danger for the latter of being shocked 
by his questions. True, there are such prudent 
theologians, who seem to realize more than others 
the real danger of the priest in confession. But 
those wise counselors resemble very much a father 
who would allow his child to put his fingers in the 
fire, while advising him to be cautious lest he 
should burn those fingers. There is just as much 
wisdom in the one case as there would be in the 
other. What would you say of a brutal parent 
casting a young, weak and inexperienced boy among 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 243 

wild beasts, with the foolish and cruel expectation 
that his prudence might save him from injury ? 

Such theologians may be perfectly honest in giv- 
ing such advice, although it is anything but wise or 
reasonable. But those are far from being honest 
or true who contend that the Church of Koine, in 
commanding everyone to confess all his sins to the 
priests, has made an exception in favor of sins 
against chastity. This is only so much dust thrown 
in the eyes of Protestants and ignorant people, to 
prevent them from seeiag through the frightful 
mysteries of confession. 

When the Council of Lateran decided that every 
adult, of either sex, should confess all their sins to 
a priest, at least once a year, there was no excep- 
tions made for any special class of sins, not even 
for those committed against modesty or purity. 
And when the Council of Trent ratified or renewed 
the previous decision, no exception was made, 
either, of the sins in question. They were expected 
and ordered to be confessed, as all other sins. 

The law of both Councils is still unrepealed and 
binding for all sins, without any exception. It is 
imperative, absolute ; and every good Catholic, 
man or woman, must submit to it by confessing all 
his or her sins, at least once a year. 

I have in my hand Butler's Catechism, approved 



24A THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

by several bishops of Quebec. On page 62, it 
reads, "that all penitents should examine them- 
selves on the capital sins, and confess them all, 
without exception, under penalty of eternal damna- 
tion/ ' 

The celebrated controversial catechism of Kd. 
Stephen Keenan, approved by all the bishops of 
Ireland, positively says (page 186): " The peni- 
tent nfust confess all his sins." 

Therefore, the young and timid girl, the chaste 
and modest woman, must think of shameful deeds 
and fill their minds with impure ideas, in order to 
confess to an unmarried man whatever they may be 
guilty of, however repugnant may be to them such 
confession, or dangerous to the priest who is bound 
to hear and even demand it. INo one is exempt 
from the loathsome, and often polluting task. Both 
priest and penitent are required and compelled to 
go through the fiery ordeal of contamination and 
shame. They are bound, on every particular, the 
one to ask, and the other to answer, under penalty 
of eternal damnation. 

Such is the rigorous, inflexible law of the Church 
of Kome with regard to confession. It is taught 
not only in works of theology or from the pulpit, 
but in prayer-books and various other religious pub- 
lications. It is so deeply impressed in the minds 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 24:0 

of Romanists as to have become a part of their re- 
ligion. Such is the law which the priest himself 
has to obey, and which puts his penitents at his 
own discretion. 

But there are husbands with a jealous disposition, 
who would little fancy the idea of bachelors confess- 
ing their wives, if they knew exactly what ques- 
tions they have to answer in confession. There are 
fathers and mothers who don't like much to see 
their daughters alone with a man, behind a curtain, 
;and who would certainly tremble for their honor 
and virtue if they knew all the abominable myster- 
ies of confession. It is necessary, therefore, to keep 
these people, as much as possible, in ignorance, 
and pee vent light from reaching that empire of 
darkness, the confessional. . In that view, confessors 
are advised to be cautious " on those matters;" to 
"broach these questions in a sort of covert way, 
and with the greatest reserve." For it is very de- 
sirable " not to shock modesty, neither frighten 
the penitent nor grieve her. Sins, however, must 
be confessed." 

Such is the prudent advice given to the confessor 
on certain occasions. In the hands or under the 
command of Liguori, Father Gury, Scavani, or 
other casuists, the priest is a sort of general, sent 
■ during the night, to storm a citadel or a strong 



246 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

position, having for order to operate cautiously, and 
before daylight. His mission is one of darkness 
and violence, and cruelty ; above all, it is a mission 
of supreme cunning, for when the Pope commands,, 
the priest, as his loyal soldier, must be ready to 
obey ; but always with a mask or blind before him, 
to conceal his object. However, many a time, after 
the place has been captured by dint of strategy and 
secrecy, the poor soldier is left, badly wounded and 
completely disabled, on the battle-field. He has 
paid dearly for his victory ; but the conquered cit- 
adel has also received an injury from which it may 
never recover. The crafty priest has gained his 
point : he has succeeded in persuading his lady 
penitent that there was no impropriety, that it was 
even necessary for them to have a parley on things 
that made her blush a few moments before. She 
is soon so well convinced, that she would swear 
that there is nothing wrong in confession. Truly 
this is a fulfillment of the word s : ' ' Aby ssus aby ssum 
invocat," an abyss calls for another abyss. 

Have the Romish theologians — Gury, Scavani, 
Liguori, etc. — ever been honest enough, in their 
works on confession, to say that the Most Holy 
God could never command or require woman to 
degrade and pollute herself and the priest in pouring 
into the ear of a frail and sinful mortal, words unfit 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 247 

even for an angel ? No ; they were very careful 
not to say so ; for, from that very moment, their 
shameless lies would have been exposed ; the stu- 
pendous, but weak structure of auricular confession, 
would fall to the ground, with sad havoc and ruin 
to its un holders. Men and women would open 
their eyes, and see its weakness and fallacy. " If 
God," they might say, "can forgive our most 
grievous sins against modesty, without confessing 
them, He can and will certainly do the same with 
those of less gravity ; therefore there is no necess- 
ity or occasion for us to confess to a priest." 

But those shrewd casuists knew too well that, by- 
such frank declaration, they would soon lose their 
hold on Catholic populations, especially on women r 
by whom, through confession, the}' rule the world. 
They much prefer to keep their grip on benighted 
minds, frightened consciences, and trembling souls. 
No wonder, then, that they fully endorse and con- 
firm the decisions of the councils of Lateran and 
Trent, ordering C1 that all sins must be confessed 
such as God knows them." No wonder that they 
try their best or worst to overcome the natural re- 
pugnance of women for making such confessions, 
and to conceal the terrible dangers for the priests 
in hearing the same. 

However, God, in his infinite mercy, and for the 



248 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 



sake of truth, lias compelled the Church of Home 
to acknowledge the moral dangers and corrupting 
tendencies of auricular confession. In His eternal 
wisdom, He knew that Roman Catholics would 
close their ears to whatever might be said by the 
disciples of gospel truth, of the demoralising influ- 
ence of that institution ; that they would even reply 
with insult and fallacy to the words of truth kindly 
addressed to them, just as the Jews of old returned 
hatred and insult to the good Saviour who was 
bringing them the glad tidings of a free salvation. 
He knew that Romish devotees, led astray by their 
priests, would call the apostles of truth, liars, se- 
ducers, possessed of the devil, as Christ was con- 
stantly called a demoniac, an impostor, and finally 
put to death by His false accusers. 

That great God, as compassionate now as He 
was then, for the poor benighted and deluded souls, 
has wrought a real miracle to open the eyes of the 
Roman Catholics, and compel them, as it were, to 
believe us, when we say, on His authority, that 
auricular confession was invented by Satan to ruin 
both the priest and his female penitents, for time 
and eternity. For, what we would never have 
dared to say of ourself to the Roman Catholics with 
regard to what frequently happens between their 
priests and their wives and daughters, either during 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 249 

or after confession, God has constrained the Church 
of Rome to acknowledge herself, in revealing things 
that would have seemed incredible, had they come 
simply from our mouth or our pen. In this, as in 
other instances, that apostate Church has unwit- 
tingly been the mouth-piece of God for the accom- 
plishment of His great and merciful ends. 

Listen to the questions that the Church of Rome, 
through her theologians, puts to every priest after 
he has heard the confession of your wives or 
danghters : 

1. "JVonne inter audiendas confessiones quas- 
dam propositi questioned circa sextum decalogi 
prececeptum cum intentione libidinosa f (Miroir 
duClerge; p. 582.) 

" While hearing confessions, have I not asked 
questions on sins against the sixth (seventh in the 
Decalogue) commandment, with the intention of 
satisfying my evil passions? " 

Such is the man, O mothers and daughters, to 
whom you dare to unbosom the most secret, as well 
as the most shameful actions You kneel down at 
his feet and whisper in his ear your most intimate 
thoughts and desires, and your most polluting 
deeds ; because your church, by dint of cunning 
and sophistry, has succeeded in persuading you 
that there was no impropriety or danger in doing 



250 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

so ; that the man whom you choose for your spirit- 
ual guide and confident, could never be tempted or 
tainted by such foul recitals. But that same 
Church, through some mysterious providence, is 
made to acknowledge, in her own books, her own 
lies. In spite of herself, she admits that there is 
real danger in confession, both for the woman and 
for the priest ; that willingly or otherwise, and 
sometimes both unawares, they lay for each other 
dangerous snares. The Church of Rome, as if she 
had an evil conscience for allowing her priest to 
hold such close and secret converse with a woman, 
on such delicate subjects, keeps, as it were, a 
watchful eye on him, while the poor misguided 
woman is pouring in his ear the filthy burden of 
her soul ; and as soon as she is off, questions the 
priest as to the parity of his motives, the honesty 
of his intentions in putting the requisite questions. 
u Have you not," she asks him immediately, " un- 
der the pretence of helping that woman in her con- 
fession, put to her certain questions simply in order 
to gratify your lust, and with the object of satisfy- 
ing your evil propensities? " 

2. ' i JVonne munus audiendi confessiones suscepi, 
aid peregi ex prava incontinent ice appettentia f " 
(Idem, p. 582.) " Have I not repaired to the con- 
fessional and heard confessions with the intention 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 251 

of gratifying my evil passions?" (Miroir du 
Clerge, p. 582.) 

O ye women! who tremble like slaves at the 
feet of the priests, you admire the patience and 
charity of those good (?) priests, who are willing to 
spend so many long and tedious hours in hearing 
the confession of your secret sins; and you hardly 
know how to express your gratitude for so much 
kindness and charity. But, hush, listen to the 
voice of God speaking to the conscience of the 
priest, through the Church of Home ! 

"Have you not," she asks him, "heard the 
confession of women simply to foster or gratify the 
grovelling passions of your fallen nature and cor- 
rupt heart ? ' ' 

Please notice, it is not I, or the enemies of your 
religion, who put to your priests the above ques- 
tions ; it is God Himself, who, in His pity and 
compassion for you, compels your own Church to 
ask such questions ; that your eyes may be opened, 
and that you may be rescued from all the danger- 
ous obscenities and the humiliating and degrading 
slavery of auricular confession. It is God's will to 
deliver you from such bondage and degradation. 
In His tender mercies lie has provided means to. 
drag you out of that cesspool, called confession ; 
to break the chains which bind you to the feet of 



252 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

a miserable and blasphemous sinner called con- 
fessor, who, under the pretence of being able to 
pardon your sins, usurps the place of your Saviour 
and your God ! For while you are whispering your 
sins in his ear, God says to him through his Church, 
in tones loud enough to be heard: " In hearing the 
confession of these women, are you not actuated by 
lust, spurred by evil passions ? " 

Is this not sufficient to warn you of the danger of 
auricular confession? Can you now, with any 
sense of safety or propriety, come to that priest, 
for whom your very confession may be a snare, a 
cause of fall or fearful temptation ? Can you, with 
a particle of honor or modesty, willingly expose 
yourself to the impure desires of your confessors 1 
Can you, with any sort of womanly dignity, con- 
sent to entrust that man with your inmost thoughts 
and desires, your most humiliating and secret 
actions, when you know from your own Church's 
lips, that that man may not have any higher ob- 
ject in listening to your confession than a lustful 
curiosity, or a sinful desire of exciting his evil 
passions ? 

3. "JVonne ex auditis in confessione occasionem 
swnpsi pcenitentes utriusque sexus ad peccandum 
•sollicitandi?" (Idem, p. 582.") 

" Have I not availed myself of what I heard in 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 25o 

confession to induce my penitents of both sexes to 
commit sin ?*' 

I would run a great risk of being treated with 
the utmost contempt, should I dare to put to your 
priests such a question. You would very likely 
call me a scoundrel, for daring to question the hon- 
esty and purity of such holy men. You would, 
perhaps, go as far as to contend that it is utterly 
impossible for them to be guilty of such sins as are 
alluded to in the above question ; that never such 
shameful deeds have been perpetrated through con- 
fession. And you would, maybe, emphatically 
deny that your confessor has ever said or done any- 
thing that might lead you to sin or even commit 
auy breach of propriety or modesty. You feel 
perfectly safe on that score, and see no danger to 
gpprehend. 

Let me tell you, good ladies, that you are al- 
together too confident, and thus you are kept in 
the most fatal delusion. Your own Church, through 
the merciful and warning voice of God speaking to 
the conscience of your own theologians, tells you 
that there is a real and imminent danger, where 
you fancy yourself in perfect security. You may 
never have suspected the clanger, but it is there, 
within the walls of the confessional; nay, more, it 
is lurking in your very hearts, and that of your 



254 THE PRIEST, WOMAN, AND CONFESSIONAL. 

confessor. He may hitherto have refrained from 
tempting you; he may, at least, have kept within 
the proper limits of outward morality or decency. 
But nothing warrants you that he may not be 
tempted ; and nothing could shield you from his 
attempts on your virtue, should he give way to 
temptation, as cases are not wanting to prove the 
truth of my assertion. Ycu are sadly mistaken in 
a false and dangerous security. You are, although 
unawares, on the very brink of a precipice, where 
so many have fallen through their blind confidence 
in their own strength, or their confessor's prudence 
and sanctity. Your own Church is very anxious 
about your own safety; she trembles for your inno- 
cence and purity. In her fear, she cautions the 
priest to be watchful over his wicked passions and 
human frailty. How dare you pretend to be 
stronger and more holy than your confessor is in 
the mind of your own Church ? Why should you 
so wilfully imperil your chastity or modesty ? 
Why expose yourself to danger, when it could be 
so easily avoided ? How can you be so rash, so 
devoid of common prudence and modesty as to 
shamelessly put yourselves in a position to tempt 
and be tempted, and thereby incur your temporal 
and eternal perdition ? 

4. " JVbnne extra tribunal, vel, in ipso confess- 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 255 

ionis actv,) aliuqia dixi aut egi cum intenticne dia- 
holica has personas seducendi?" (Idem, idem). 

"Have I not, either during or after confession, 
done or said certain things with a diabolical inten- 
tion of seducing my female patients? " 

"What arch enemy of our holy religion is so 
bold and impious as to put to our saintly priests 
such an impudent and insulting question?" may 
ask some of our Roman Catholic readers. It is 
easy to answer. This great enemy of your relig- 
ion is no less than a justly offended God, admon- 
ishing and reproving your priests for exposing both 
you and themselves to dangerous allurements and 
seductions. It is His voice speaking to their con- 
sciences, and warning them of the danger and cor- 
ruption of auricular confession. It says to them : 
Beware ! for ye might be tempted, as surely you 
will be, to do or say something against honor and 
purity. 

Husbands and fathers ! who rightly value the 
honor of your wives and daughters more than all 
treasures, who consider it too precious a boon to be 
exposed to the dangers of pollution, and who would 
prefer to lose your life a thousand times, than to 
see those you love most on earth fall in the snares 
of the seducer, read once more and ponder what 
your Church asks the priest, after he has heard 



256 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

your wife and daughter in confession : " Have you 
not, either during or after confession, done or said 
something with a diabolical intention of seducing 
your female patients ? " 

If your priest remains deaf to these words ad- 
dressed to his conscience, you cannot help giving 
heed to them and understanding their full sig- 
nificance. You cannot be easy and fear nothing 
from that priest in those close interviews with 
your wives and daughters, when his superiors and 
your own Church tremble for him, and question 
his purity and honesty. They see a great danger 
for both the confessor and his penitent ; for they 
know that confession has, many a time, been the pre- 
tence of the cause of the most shameful seductions. 

If there were no real danger for the chastity of 
women, in confessing to a man their most secret 
sins, do you believe that your popes and theolo- 
gians would be so stupid as to acknowledge it, and 
put to confessors questions that would be most 
insulting and out of place, should there he no occa- 
sion for them ? 

Is it not presumption and folly, on your part, to 
think that there is no danger, when the Church of 
Home tells you, positively, that there is danger, 
and uses the strongest terms in expressing her 
uneasiness and apprehension ? 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 257 

\/\iy ! your Church sees the most pressing rea- 
sons to fear for the honor of your wives and daugh- 
ters, as well as for the chastity of her priests ; and 
still you remain unconcerned, indifferent to the 
fearful peril to which they are exposed ! Are you 
like the Jewish people of old, to whom it was said : 
"Hear ye indeed, but understand not ; and see ye 
indeed, but perceive not? " (Isa. vi. 9). 

But if you see or suspect the danger you are 
warned of; if the eye of your intelligence can 
fathom the dreadful abyss where the dearest objects 
of your heart are in danger of falling, then it be- 
hoves you to keep them from the paths that lead 
to the fearful chasm. Do not wait till it is too late* 
when they are too near the precipice to be rescued.. 
You may think the danger to be far off, while it is 
near at hand. Profit by the sad experience of so 
'many victims of confession who have been irretriev- 
ably lost, irrecoverably ruined for time and eternity. 
The voice of your conscience, of honor, of God 
Himself, tells you that it may soon become too 
late to save them from destruction, through your 
neglect and procrastination. While thanking God for 
having preserved them from temptations that have 
proved fatal to so many married or unmarried wom- 
en, do not lose a single moment in taking the neces- 
sary means to keep them from temptation and falls.. 



258 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

Instead of allowing them to go and kneel at the 
feet of a man to obtain the remission of their sins, 
lead them to the dying Saviour's feet, the only 
place where they can secure pardon and peace 
everlasting. And why, after so many unfruitful 
attempts, should they try any longer to wash them- 
selves in a puddle, when the pure waters of eternal 
life are offered them so freely through Christ Jesus, 
their only Saviour and Mediator ? 

Instead of seeking their pardon from a poor and 
miserable sinner, weak and tempted as they are, 
let them go to Christ, the only strong and perfect 
man, the only hope and salvation of the world. 

O poor deluded Catholic women ! listen no longer 
to the deceiving words of the Church of Rome, 
who has no pardon, no peace for you, but only 
snares ; who offers you thraldom and shame in re- 
turn for the confession of your sins ! But listen 
rather to the invitations of your Saviour, who has 
died on the cross, that you might be saved ; and 
who, alone, can give rest to your weary souls. 

Hearken to His words, when He says to you : 
" Come unto Me, O ye heavily laden, crushed, as 
it were, under the burden of your sins, and I shall 
give you rest ... .1 am the Physician of your souls. 
. . . .Those who are well hav^no need of a physi- 
cian, but those who are sick .... Come, then, to- 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL, 259 

IVTe, and ye shall be healed .... I have not sent 

back nor lost any who have come to Me invoke 

My name. . . .believe in Me repent. . . .love God, 

and your neighbor as yourself, and you shall be 
saved. . . .For all who believe in Me and call upon 
My name, shall be saved. . . .When I am raised up 
between heaven and earth, I shall draw every one 
to Me...." 

Oh, mothers and daughters, instead of going to 
the priest for pardon and salvation, go to Jesus, 
who is so pressingly inviting you ! and the more so 
as you have more need of divine help and grace. 
Even, if you are as great a sinner as Mary Magda- 
lene, you can, like her, wash the feet of the Saviour 
with the flowing tears of your repentance and your 
love, and like her, receive the pardon of your sins. 

Te Jesus, then, and to Him alone, go for the con- 
fession and pardon of your sins ; for there, only, 
you can find peace, light, and life for time and 
eternity ! 



CHAPTEK XI. 

AURICULAR CONFESSION IN AUSTRALIA, AMERICA, 
AND FRANCE. 

TTfE hope this chapter will be read with interest 
' " and benefit everywhere ; it will be particu- 
larly interesting to the people of Australia, Amer- 
ica, and France. Let every one consider with 
attention its solemn teachings ; they will see how 
auricular confession is spreading, broadcast, the 
seeds of an unspeakable corruption on every side, 
all over the world. Let every one see how the 
enemy is successfully at work, to destroy every ves- 
tige of honesty and purity in the hearts and the 
minds of the fair daughters of their countries. 

Though I have been in Australia only a few 
months, I have a collection of authentic and unde- 
niable facts about the destruction of female virtue, 
through the confessional, which would fill several 
large volumes, and would strike the country with 
horror, were it possible to publish them all. But 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 261 

■■to keep myself within the limits of a short chapter, 
[ will give only a few of the most public ones. 

Not long ago, a young Irish lady, belonging to 
one of the most respectable families of Ireland, 
went to confess to a priest of Parramatta. But the 
questions pat to her in the confessional, were of 
such a bestial character ; the efforts made by this 
priest to persuade his God-fearing and honest young 
penitent, to consent to satisfy the infamous desires 
of his corrupted heart, caused the young lady to 
give up, immediately, the Church of Rome, and 
break the fetters, by which she had been too long 
bound to the feet of her would-be seducers. Let 
the reader peruse her letter, which I have copied 
from the Sydney {Australia) Gazette, of the 28th 
July, 1839, and they will see how bravely, and 
over her own signature, she not only accuses her 
confessors of having most infamously scandalized 
her by their questions, and tried to destroy in her 
the last vestige of female modesty, but she declares 
that many of her female friends had acknowledged 
in her presence, that they had been dealt with in 
the very same way, by their father confessors. 

As that young lady was the niece of a well-known 
Roman Catholic Bishop, and the near relation of 
two priests, her public declaration made a pro- 
found sensation in the public mind, and the Roman 



262 THE PKIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

Catholic hierarchy keenly felt the blow. The facts-- 
were too plainly and brave' y given by that unim- 
peachable witness to be denied. The only thing 
to which those haughty and implacable enemies of 
all that is true, holy and pure, in the world, had 
recourse to, to defend their tottering power, and 
keep their mask of honesty, what they have done 
in all ages — u murder the honest young girl they 
had not been able to silence." A few days after, 
she was found bathed in her blood, and cruelly 
bruised, at a short distance from Parramatta ; but 
by the good providence of God, the would-be mur- 
derers, sent by these priests, had failed to kill their 
victim. She recovered from her wounds, and lived 
many years more to proclaim before the public, 
how the priests of Australia, as well as the priests 
of the rest of the world, make use of auricular con- 
fession to pollute the hearts, and damn the souls of 
their penitents. 

Here is the letter of that young, honest, and 
brave lady : — - 

The Confessional. 
( To the Editors oJ\ the Sydney Gazette. ) 

While reading over, the other day, in the Syd- 
ney Gazette, an account of the trial, which took 
place at the Supreme Court, Tuesday, the 9th in- 
stant, I was struck with inexpressible amazement; 



THE TEIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL, l M% 

at the evidence of Dr. Polcling, Roman Carbolic 
Bishop in this colony, and beg to enquire, through 
the medium of jour paper, whether any difference 
exists between the English and the Irish Roman 
Catholic priests ? If there does not, arA if what 
Dr. Folding says is really the case, J must have 
been very unfairly dealt wfth indeed by most of 
the priests, to whom I have confessed. 

I know very well a Roman Catholic priest will 
never say — "Pay me so much, and J will give you 
absolution, " because that would be exposing the 
craft ; but practice speaks louder than precept, and 
I can say for myself (and I know hundred of oth- 
ers, whe could say the same, if they dared), that I 
have, times without number, paid the priest, before 
I rose from my knees at confession, under the pre- 
tence, as I will show, of getting znasses and prayers 
said for the release of the souk of my deceased rel- 
atives from purgatory. 

I was taught to believe tl at masses were not 
valid, unless I was from under a state of sin, or in 
Ather words, in a state of grace. Consequently I 
must be absolved, to make the masses effectual, 
and all Roman Catholics know full well, that all 
masses must be paid for^ before they will be said. 
I have been told by a priest, a man of good educa- 
tion, tiiat the more I gave, the better for my own 



264 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

soul, and the souls of friends detained in purga- 
tory, I was taught to believe that the Church 
of Rome being infallible, and incapable of erring, 
its doctrine and practices were the same through- 
out the world ; of course I was the more staggered 
on reading Dr. Polding's evidence. I think that 
lie must be laboring under a great mistake, when 
lie says, that it is strictly forbidden for a priest to 
receive money in any way, or even if anything 
should be given for charitable purposes, it is usual 
to give it at another time, "but not customary," 
or else the priests in Ireland are outrageously 
simonical. Perhaps Dr. Polding will inform me, 
why I should, for so many years, and not only I, 
but very many members of my poor deluded fam- 
ily, pay the priest for relics — such as "the word of 
the cross," u holy bones," "holy "vax," "holy 
fire," "pieces of saints' garments/' from Rome 
and other places; "holy clay," from the saints' 
tombs; " the Agnus Dei, " "gospels," "scapula 
ries," "blessed candle," "blessed salt," "St. 
Francis' lard, &c. 

But the time would fail me to repeat the abomi- 
nable delusions I've paid for, und none of them 
could, in any way, be reckoned among the priests' 
traveling expenses, as the priests were resident in 
the place ; but, perhaps, t >e^e Ire not some of the 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 265 

acts which would bring a priest into degradation 
with his own community, as Dr. Folding acknowl- 
edges ; "there are certain acts to which, inherently 
and incessantly, there are degradations and detes- 
tation attached," but I humbly and heartily thank 
God I have not, like Dr. Polding, to wait until I 
have " been a Protestant, 1 ' to know how such acts 
must affect all who come within reach of their con- 
tagion, as I do most selemnly protest, before God 
and man, against refuges of lies and idolatrous 
worship of the Popish Church, out of which it is 
my earnest and constant prayer, that not only my 
own relations, but all within her pale, may, through 
the riches of God's grace, "come out from her and 
be separate," as I have, so that after the way — 
which they call heresy — "that they may yet be 
bi ought to worship the God of their fathers." 

But there is one thing asserted by Dr. Polding, 
in his evidence, that needs particular explanations, 
as it either casts a most blasphemous reflection on 
the Holy Scriptures, or Dr. Polding must, if he 
directs the attention of Protestants, for the rule of, 
confession, in the Roman Catholic Church, to the 
Holy Scriptures, be totally ignorant of that, which 
the everyday student in Maynooth College is mas- 
ter of ; and were it not that I esteem the glory of 
God far beyond my own personal feelings of female 



266 THE PKIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

delicacy, I would shrink from acknowledging that 
which I do now publicly, and with shame, that I 
have carefully perused the translations of the ex- 
tracts from "Dens' Theology," where alone the 
true practice of the Roman Catholic confessional is 
to be found, and publicly authorized by Dr. Mur- 
ray, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, 
and in the presence of my Maker, I solemnly 
declare, that horrible and unspeakably vile as that 
book is, I have had a hundred times more disgust- 
ing questions put to me in the confessional, which 
I was obliged to answer, having been told by my 
confessor, " that being ashamed of answering him, 
I was in a state of mortal sin." I have been often 
obliged to perform severe penance, for repeating to 
my companions, a portion of these horrible things, 
out of confession, and comparing the questions put 
to them (as far as decency would allow) with those 
put to myself. What then will the Protestant 
public think, when I again declare, and in the 
same solemn manner, that their experience, and 
especially the experience of one of them, was 
worse than mine, acts following questions, which I 
readily believe, from the specimens offered to 
myself, one day, in the confessional. 

If then, Dr. Polding will only prove to me, 
'' from simply the Holy Scriptures, " any authority 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 267 

for what I have stated, on the part of Roman Cath- 
olic Confession, and which may be read by any one 
who please, in Dens' Theology, — I promise to 
return to the bosom of the Roman Catholic Church. 
But I must leave this subject for the present, on 
which I could relate what would fill a moderate 
sized volume, and just speak a few words about 
the sale of indulgences, of which Dr. Polding has 
only read " in Protestant books." This also aston- 
ished me, that a bishop in the Roman Catholic 
Church, should know nothing of these things, and 
I to have purchased one, which I did during the 
cholera of 1832. At that time I heard the priest 
of the parish publish from the altar, that the Pope 
had granted an indulgence ; and, as the cholera 
was raging in Dublin, every one was in dread of 
its spreading over the whole country, and every 
Roman Catholic that could crawl to the chapel, in 
the parish where I lived, lost no time in coming. 
Amongst them I well remember the priest showing 
me an old woman, who, he said, had not been to 
confession for fifty years, and who was in the act 
of laying her money on the tray, when he pointed 
her out. Indulgence was to be had, as the priest 
had published, and I saw the old woman put her 
money on the tray, where I put mine — she got her 
seal of indulgence, and I got mine. "Will Dr.. 



268 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

Polding have the kindness te tell me what the- 
money was for ? In complying with the indulgence, 
it was necessary also, to say so many prayers, such 
as the "Jesus Psalter," &c., but those who could 
not were to bring their beads to their priests, who 
selected a proper number of prayers to be said on 
them. Persons were to give at their own option, 
what money they pleased, but nothing less than 
silver was taken. I have seen trays on the vestry- 
room table of the chapel, at that time, full of sil- 
ver, bank-notes and gold, and I have also seen trays 
for the same purpose, in Marlborough Street 
Chapel, Dublin, upon the holy-water trough. 

How many poor creatures have I known, who 
were little short of starving, beg or borrow a six- 
pence, to be at the chapel at that time ; but it 
would be impossible almost for me, unless I was as 
insensible as the images I was taught to worship, 
especially my own guardian angel, St. Agnes, to 
whom, with the Virgin Mary, I was taught to pay 
more adoration than to God Himself, were I to 
have remained unacquainted with the depth of 
these, and many more wicked and abominable de- 
vices, under the garb of the most self-denying 
religion, having such a number of priests related 
to me, a bishop for my uncle, and brought up 
.amongst priests, friars, and nuns of almost every 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 269 



order, from my birth, besides being a most zealous 
devoted Roman Catholic myself, during my ignor- 
ance of u the truth, as it is in Jesus." But I am 
content to leave all temporal good as I have already 
done, in leaving wealthy relations and former 
friends, only desiring from my heart, that, as \ 
have suffered the loss of all things, I may "be 
more enabled to count them but dung, that I may 
win Christ, and be found in Him, not having my 
own righteousness (which I was taught to value in 
the Roman Catholic Church, and which is of the 
law), but that which is through the faith of Christ, 
the righteousness, which is of God, by faith." I 
know, sir, I have taken up too much of your paper, 
but, should it please God, that the truths, the sol- 
emn truths, which I have stated, be so blessed as 
to rouse even one of my Roman Catholic fellow- 
sinners to reflect, and break through that slavish 
bondage, in which I know too well, they are kept, 
and begin to think for him or herself, I am sure 
you will feel doubly recompensed for the space you 
have given this letter. 

I am, sir, &c, &c, 

Agnes Catherine Byrne. 

25th July, 1839. 

As some people, from a mistaken sense of charity, 
may be tempted to believe that the priests of Rome, 



270 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

in Australia, have reformed, and are not so cor- 
rupted to-day as they were in 1839, let them read 
the following document, which I take from the 
Sydney Evening JVews, 19th November, 1878 : — 
" One of the largest assemblages that were ever 
seen inside the Protestant Hall in Castlereagh- 
street, attended last night in response to an adver- 
tisement announcing that a lady would deliver a 
lecture on the subject — 'Mrs. Constable wrong, 
and the ex-priest Chiniquy right, relative to auric- 
ular confession ; proved by the lady's personal ex- 
perience in Sydney.' The building was densely 
packed in every part, and there was no standing 
room. On the platform, around it, and in the 
galleries were large numbers of ladies. Pastor 
Allen then opened the proceedings by giving out 
the hymn, ' Rock of ages cleft for me. ' Mr. W, 
Neill (the banker) was voted to the chair. The 
lady lecturer, Mrs. Margaret Ann Dillon, a middle- 
aged lady, neatly dressed, was then introduced to 
the audience. At first she appeared somewhat 
tremulous and confused, which she explained was 
mainly owing to the cruel and heartless letter she 
had, that night, received, announcing the death of 
her husband. She stated that she had not been 
brought up in the Roman Catholic faith, but after 
much consideration she had joined that Church, 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 271 

because she had been led to believe it was the only 
true Church. She had, for years after joining the 
Church, faithfully attended to its duties, even to 
auricular confession. It was not her intention to 
insult the Roman Catholics that she had thus pub- 
licly come forward, but to refute the allegations of 
Mrs. Constable, and show that the ex-priest Chini- 
quy's statements were true. Nothing but her duty 
to God would have caused her to come before them 
in this public manner. It was her first appearance 
in public ; therefore, they must allow for her short- 
comings ; but she would speak truthfully and fear- 
lessly. Her address would have reference entirely 
to her own personal experience of auricular con- 
fession. After some further remarks, Mr. Neill 
was requested to read the following letter, sent by 
the lady lecturer to Archbishop Yaughan : — * 
' No. 259 Kent Street, Sydney. 12th of April, 
1878. To his Grace, Archbishop Yaughan. May 
it please your Grace : — I have for a considerable 
time past been very desirous of bringing a most 
painful subject under your notice, and which has 
caused me considerable pain. Yarious reasons 
have prevented my doing so until now, and it is 
only when I perceive the object of my complaint 
apparently unpunished for his conduct, which I 
heard has been the case, I determined upon appeal- 



272 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

ing to you, feeling sure of obtaining redress. About 
the year 1876, I resided in Clarence street, in this 
city, and while suffering from severe illness was 
visited by Father Sheridan, of St. Mary's, as also 
by Father Maher. From the former I received the 
last rites of the Church, as I was supposed to be on 
my dying-bed. Half an hour after Father Sheri- 
dan had left me, Father Maher called upon me, 
and insisted upon performing the service upon me, 
which I declined. There was a bottle containing 
brandy on the table, and by its side a tumbler con- 
taining a small quantity of castor oil for my use. 
Father Maher wished for some of the spirits, and 
my husband, who was in the room, requested him 
to help himself. He did so, using the tumbler that 
contained the medicine, and finding the mistake, 
he had emptied some more of the spirits into a 
clean tumbler, and drank it. He then desired my 
husband to leave the room.. He then came to my 
bedside professedly to administer the rites of the 
Church to me, and I remonstrated with him, when 
he laid violent hands upon me, and made most im- 
proper overtures to me. In my struggles to resist, 
my night- dress Avas much torn. He assured me 
that no harm would be done to me ii I did comply 
with his terrible device (Cries of Oh ! Oh!) saying 
what he did was under the holy orders, and would 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 273 

not be held as a sin by the Church, or words to 
that effect. (Sensation.) I, at length, found 
strength to call my husband ; and, on his appear- 
ing, Father Maher was forced to leave the room. I 
was fearful in telling my husband all that happened, 
as I felt sure he would use violence to Father 
Maher. Since the occurrence, I was apprised that he 
had been suspended for some other cause, and that 
it was useless my taking steps in the matter. But 
as, within the present month, I have seen him pass- 
ing my door dressed in a priest's usual garb, and it 
being evident to me that he is still under some con- 
trol, I have determined upon making the complaint 
he so richly deserves. I write to add that when 
my husband drove him off the premises, he (Father 
Maher) had become quite intoxicated with the 
spirits he had taken. — I am, with much respect, 
your Grace's humble servant, Margaret Ann 
Dillon.' Mrs. Dillon then proceeded, at great 
length, to relate minutely the facts of the affair- 
stated in the letter, and how the Vicar-General 
(Dean Sheridan) came to her place to hush up the 
matter. In a long dialogue with the reverend 
Dean, she asserted that he maintained that Arch- 
bishop Vaughan had shed tears over her letter, 
and that he (the Dean) had always known her to 
be a good woman. In reply to a question, the 



274 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

Dean told her that ' once a priest always a priest ; T 
hut she rejoined, ' once in infamy, always in in- 
famy.' Subsequently, a priest called on her, and 
asked her why she did not go to church. She ex- 
plained that, having three children to take care of, 
she could not go. Once, a priest saw the Protes- 
tant Bible with some other books on her table, and 
he said to her, ' I see you have got some heretical 
books here ; you must take them and burn them. ' 
She said she would not do so; and he said, 'If you 
■do not give me those books, I will not give you ab- 
solution.' She said she did not care, and he left 
the place. The lady then read from Dens' Theol- 
ogy, Vol. VI. , page 305, as to the doctrines of the 
confessional. She maintained that the priest lik- 
ened themselves to God in the confessional-box, but 
outside of it they were only men. She would not 
give utterance to the filthy language that she had 
been subject to hear and reply to by the, priest in 
the confessional-box. Not only herself, but her 
daughter could bear witness to the abominations of 
the confessional. She had been married twice, and 
shortly after her first husband's death she sent her 
daughter to confession. The priest told her daugh- 
ter that her dead father, who had been a Protestant, 
was a heretic, and was in hell. . She urged that 
Catholic women ought not to send their children to 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 275 

oe insulted and degraded by the confessional. She 
hoped they would keep their children away from it, 
for the priests put questions to them suggesting 
wickedness of the grossest description, and filling 
their minds with carnal thoughts for the first time 
in their lives. (Cheers.) She would strongly 
advise all Roman Catholic men not to allow priests 
to remain alone with their wives. Napoleon 
adopted a scheme by which he would himself frame 
the questions to be put to his son in the confess- 
ional. If Napoleon was so careful of his son, how 
much more so must those be in a humbler sphere 
•of life. Mrs. Dillon, then, read extracts from 
Dens' Theology and other text-books, which she 
claimed to be the standard works of the Roman 
Catholic Church, to refute Mrs. Constable's allega- 
tions. Her experience, as well as that of many 
others, clearly proved that the cause of the major- 
ity of the large numbers of girls on the streets arose 
from the abominable questions they have to reply 
to in the confessional-box. (Cheers.) Not only 
were the majority of these girls Catholics, but our 
hospitals and charitable institutions are filled with 
those whose early life had been degraded in the 
confessional. (Hear, hear.) In conclusion, Mrs. 
Dillon touched on the sacrament question, assert- 
ing that the priests take good care to drink the 



276 THE PKIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

wine — the blood of Christ, — and the people had 
the lozenge, — the body of Christ. (Laughter.) 
Mrs. Dillon resumed her seat amid tumultuous 
cheering. Frequently her remarks created great 
sensation and rounds of applause. The Rev. Pas- 
tor Allen read a letter sent that night to the lady 
lecturer, containing an extract from the S. M. Her* 
aid, published four years ago, about the punish 
ment of an Abbe for unpriestly conduct to four 
young ladies in the confessional. A hearty vote of 
thanks was passed to the lady lecturer, and a simi- 
lar honor was accorded to Mr. Neill, for presiding. 
The benediction and the singing of the National 
Anthem closed the proceedings about half-past nine 
o'clock. 

Has the world ever seen any act more disgust- 
ingly corrupt than that priest's? Who will not be 
struck with horror at the sight of that confessor, 
who struggles with his dying penitent, snd tears 
her night-dress, when she is on her sick bed, to 
satisfy his vile propensities ? 

What an awful spectacle is here presented, by 
the hands of Providence, before the eyes of a 
Christian people ! A dying woman obliged to 
fight and struggle against her confessor, to keep 
her purity and honor intact ! Her night-robes torn, 
by the beastly priest of Rome ! 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 277 

Let the Americans who like to know more pre- 
cisely what is going on between the father confess- 
ors and their female penitents in the United States, 
go to the beautiful town of Malone, in the State of 
New York. There, they will see, by the public 
records of the court, how Father McNully seduced 
his fair penitent, Miss McFarlane, who was board- 
ing with him, and of whom he was the teacher. 
They will see that the enraged parents of the young 
lady prosecuted him and got a verdict of $2,129 
for damage, which he refused to pay. He was incar- 
cerated — broke his gaol, went to Canada, where he 
was welcomed by the bishops and employed among 
the confessors of the Irish girls of the Dominion ! 

Do not the echoes of the whole world still repeat 
the horrors of the Cracow Nunnery in Austria? 
In spite of the superhuman efforts of the Roman 
Cathoiic press to suppress or deny the truth, has it 
not been proved by the evidence that the unfortu- 
nate Nun Barbary Ubryk was found absolutely 
naked in a most horrible, dark, damp, and filthy 
dungeon, where she had been kept by the nuns 
because she had refused to live their life of infamy 
with their Father Confessor Pankiewiez. And has 
not that miserable priest corroborated all that 
was brought to his charge, by putting an end 
himself, like Judas, to his own infamous life ? 



278 THE PKIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

I have met, in Montreal, a nephew of the Nun 
Barbara Ubryk, who was in Cracow when his aunt 
was found in her horrible danger. He not only 
corroborated all what the press had said about the 
tortures of his near relation and their cause, but he- 
publicly gave up the Church of Rome, whose confes- 
sional he knew personally, are schools of perdition. 

I visited Chicago for the first time in 1851, at the 
pressing request of Bishop Vandevelde. It was to 
cover Illinois, as much as we could, with Roman 
Catholics from Canada, France, and Belgium, that 
we might put that splendid State, which was then 
a kind of wilderness, under the control of the 
Church of Rome. I then inquired from a priest 
about the particulars of the death of the late 
Bishop. That priest had no reasons whatever to> 
deceive me and concede the truth, and it was with 
an evidently distressed mind that he gave the fol- 
lowing details, which he assured me, were the 
exact, though very sad, truth : 

" The Grand Yicar, M . . . , had fallen in love 
with his beautiful penitent, the accomplished Nun, 
. . . . , Superioress of the Convent of Lorette. The 
consequence was that to conceal her fall, she went, 
under the pretext of recruiting her health, to a 
western city, where she soon died when giving; 
birth to a dead-born child." 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 27$ 

Though these mysteries of iniquity had been, as 
much as possible, kept secret, enough of them had 
come to the ears of the Bishop to induce him to 
tell the confessor that he was obliged to make 
inquiry about his conduct, and that, if found guilty, 
he would be interdicted. That priest boldly and 
indignantly denied his guilt ; and said that he was 
glad of that inquiry. For he boasted that he was 
sure to prove his innocence. But after more ma- 
ture deliberation, he changed his mind. In order 
to save his bishop the troubles of that inquiry, he 
administered to him a dose of poison which re- 
lieved him from the miseries of life, after five or 
six days of suffering, which the doctors took for a 
common disease ! ! ! 

Auricular confession ! These are some of thy 
mysteries ! 

The people of Detroit, Michigan, have not yet 
forgotten that aimable priest who was the confessor r 
"& la mode," of the young and old Roman Catho- 
lic ladies. They all remember still, the dark night 
during which he left for Belgium, with one of his 
most beautiful penitents, and $4,000 which he had 
taken from the purse of his Bishop Lefebvre, to 
pay his traveling expenses. And, who, in that 
same city of Detroit does not still sympathize with 
that young doctor whose beautiful wife eloped with. 



280 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

her father confessor, in order, we must charitably 
suppose, to be more benefited when in the constant 
company of her spiritual and holy (?) physician. 

Let my readers come with me to Bourbonnais 
Grove, and there, every one will show them the 
son whom the Priest Courjeault had from one of 
his fair penitents. 

Week-kneed Protestants ! who are constantly 
speaking of peace, peace, with Pome, and who 
keep yourselves humbly prostrated at their feet, in 
order to sell them your wares, or get their suffrages, 
do you not understand your supreme degradation ? 

Do not answer to us that these are exceptional 
oases, for I am ready to prove that this unspeaka- 
ble degradation and immorality are the, normal 
state of the greater part of the priests of Pome. 
Father Hyacinthe has publicly declared, ^that 
ninety-nine out of one hundred of them, live in sin 
with the females they have destroyed. And not 
only the common priests are, for the greater part, 
sunk in that bottomless pit of secret or public 
infamy, but the bishops and popes, with the cardi- 
nals, are no better. 

Who does not know the history of that inter- 
esting young girl of Armidale, Australia, who, 
lately, confessed to her distracted parents, that her 
reducer had been no less than a bishop ! And 



WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 281 

when the enraged father prosecuted the bishop for 
damages, is it not a public fact that he got £350 
from the Pope's bishop, with the condition that he 
would emigrate with his family, to San Francisco, 
where this great iniquity might be concealed ! But, 
unfortunately for the criminal confessor, the girl 
gave birth to a little bishop, before she left, and I 
can give the name of the priest who baptized the 
child of his own holy (?) and venerable (?) bishop. 

Will the people of Australia ever forget the his- 
tory of Father Nihills, who was condemned to 
three years in the penitentiary, for an unmention- 
able crime with one of his penitents ? 

This brings to my mind the deplorable end of 
Father Cahill, who cut his own throat not long 
ago, in New England, to escape the prosecution of 
the beautiful girl whom he had seduced. Who has 
not heard of that grand Vicar of Boston, who, 
about three ago, poisoned himself to escape the 
sentence which was to be hurled against him the 
very next day, by the Supreme Court, for having 
6educed one of his fair penitents? 

Has not all France been struck with horror and 
confusion at the declarations made by the noble 
Catherine Cadiere and her numerous young female 
friends, against their father confessor, the Jesuit, 
John B. Girard? The details of the villainies 



282 THE PEIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

practiced by that holy (?) father confessor and his 
coadjutors, with their fair penitents, are such, that 
no Christian pen can retrace them, and no Chris- 
tian reader would consent to have them put before 
his eyes. 

If this chapter was not already long enough, I 
would say how Father Achazius, superior of a 
nunnery in Duren, France, used to sanctify the 
young and old ladies who confessed to him. The 
number of his victims was so great, and their ranks 
in society so exalted, that Napoleon thought it was 
his duty to take that scandalous aifair before him. 

The way this holy (?) father confessor used to 
lead the noble girls, married women, and nuns, of 
the territory of Aix-la-Chapelle, was revealed by a 
young nun who had escaped from the snares of the 
priest, and married a superior officer in the army 
of the Emperor of France. Her husband thought 
it his duty to direct the attention of Napoleon to 
the performances of that priest, through the con- 
fessional. But the investigations which were direc- 
ted by the State Counsellor, Le Clerq, and the 
Professor Gall, were compromising so many other 
priests, and so many ladies in the highest ranks of 
society, that the Emperor was absolutely disheart- 
ened, and feared that their exposure before the 
whole of France, would cause the people to renew 



THE PEIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 283- 

the awful slaughters of 1792 and 1793, when thirty 
thousand priests, monks and nuns, had been merci- 
lessly hung, or shot dead, as the most implacable 
enemies of public morality and liberty. In those 
days, that ambitious man was in need of the priests 
to forge the fetters by which the people of France 
would be securely tied to the wheels of his chariot. 

He abruptly ordered the court of investigation 
to stop the inquiry, under the pretext of saving 
the honor of so many families, whose single and 
married females had been seduced by their confes- 
sors. He thought that prudence and shame were 
urging him not to lift up more of the dark and 
thick veil, behind which the confessors conceal 
their hellish practices with their fair penitents. 
He found it was enough to confine Father Achazius 
and his co-priests in a dungeon for their lives. 

But if we turn our eyes from the humble confes- 
sor priests to the monsters whom the Church of 
Rome adores as the vicars of Jesus Christ — the 
supreme Pontiffs — the Popes, do we not find hor- 
rors and abominations, scandals and infamies, 
which surpass everything which is done by the 
common priests behind the impure curtains of the 
confessional-box ? 

Does not Cardinal Baronius himself, tell us that 
the world has never seen anything comparable to> 



284 THE PKIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

the impurities and unmentionable vices of a great 
number of popes? 

Do not the annals of the Church of Rome give 
us the history of that celebrated prostitute of 
Rome, Marozia, who lived in public concubinage 
with the Pope Sergius III., whom she raised to the 
so-called chair of St. Peter ? Had she not also, by 
that Pope a son, of whom she also made a pope 
after the death of his holy (?) father, Pope Sergius ? 

Did not the same Marozia and her sister, Theo- 
dora, put on the pontifical throne another one of 
their lovers, under the name of Anastasius III., 
who was soon followed by John X. ? And is it not 
a public fact, that that pope having lost the con- 
fidence of his concubine Marozia, was strangled by 
her order ? Is it not also a fact of public notoriety, 
that his follower, Leo YL, was assassinated by her, 
for having given his heart to another woman, still 
more degraded ? 

The son whom Marozia had by Pope Sergius, 
was elected pope, by the influence of his mother, 
under the name of John XL, when not sixteen 
years old! But having quarrelled with some of 
the enemies of his mother, he was beaten and sent 
to gaol, where he was poisoned and died. 

In the year 936, the grandson of the prostitute 
Marozia, after several bloody encounters with his 



THE PKIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 285- 

opponents, succeeded in taking possession of the 
pontifical throne under the name of John XII. 
But his vices and scandals became so intolerable, 
that the learned and celebrated Koman Catholic 
Bishop of Cremorne, Luitprand, says of him: — 
"No honest lady dared to show herself in public, 
for the Pope John had no respect either for single 
girls, married women, or widows — they were sure 
to be defiled by him, even on the tombs of the 
holy apostles, Peter and Paul. 

That same John XII. was instantly killed by a 
gentleman, who found him committing the act of 
adultery with his wife. 

It is a well-known fact that Pope Boniface VII. 
had caused John XIV. to be imprisoned and 
poisoned, and when he soon after died, the people 
of Kome dragged his naked body through the 
streets, and left it, when horribly mutilated, to be 
eaten by dogs, if a few priests had not secretly 
buried him. 

Let the readers study the history of the cele- 
brated Council of Constance, called to put an end 
to the great schism, during which three popes, and 
sometimes four, were every morning cursing each 
other and calling their opponents Antichrists, de- 
mons, adulterers, sodomists, murderers, enemies of 
God and man. 



286 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 



As every one of them was an infallible pope, ac- 
cording to the last Council of the Vatican, we are 
bound to believe that they were correct in the com- 
pliments they paid to each other. 

One of these holy (?) popes, John XXIII., haw 
ing appeared before the Council to give an account 
of his conduct, he was proved by thirty-seven wit- 
nesses, the greater part of whom were bishops and 
priests, of having been guilty of fornication, adul- 
tery, incest, sodomy, simony, theft, and murder. 
It was proved also by a legion of witnesses, that 
he had seduced and violated 300 nuns. His own 
secretary, Niem, said that he had at Boulogne, 
kept a harem, where not less than 200 girls had 
been the victims of his lubricity. 

And what could we not say of Alexander VI. ? 
That monster who lived in public incest with his 
two sisters and his own daughter Lucretia, from 
whom he got a child. 

But I stop — I blush to be forced to repeat such 
things. I would never have mentioned them were 
it not necessary not only to put an end to the inso- 
lence and the pretensions of the priests of Kome, 
but also to make the Protestants remember why 
their heroic fathers have made such great sacrifices 
and fought so many battles, shed their purest blood 
.and even died, in order to break the fetters by 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 287 

"which they were bound to the feet of the priests 
and the popes of Rome. 

Let not my readers be deceived by the idea that 
the popes of Rome in our days, are much better 
than those of the ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth 
centuries. They are absolutely the same — the only 
difference is that, to-day, they take a little more 
care to conceal their secret orgies. For they know 
well, that the modern nations, enlightened as they 
are, by the light of the Bible, would not tolerate 
the infamies of their predecessors ; tliey would hurl 
them very soon into the Tiber, if they dared to re- 
peat in the open day, the scenes of which the Alex- 
anders, Stephens, Johns, &c. &c, were the heroes. 

Go to Italy, and there the Roman Catholics 
themselves will show you the two beautiful daugh- 
ters whom the last pope, Pius IX., had from two 
of his mistresses. They will tell you, too, the 
names of live other mistresses — three of them 
nuns — he had when a priest and a bishop ; some of 
them are still living. 

Inquire from those who have personally known 
Pope Gregory XVI., the predecessor of Pius IX., 
and after they will have given you the history of 
his mistresses, one of whom was the wife of his 
barber, they will tell you that he was one of the 
greatest drunkards in Italy! 



288 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

Who has not heard of the bastard, whom Cardi- 
nal Antonelli had from Countess Lambertini ? Has 
not the suit of that illegitimate child of the great 
cardinal secretary filled Italy and the whole world 
with shame and disgust ? 

However, nobody can be surprised that the 
priests, the bishops, and the popes of Borne are 
sunk into such a bottomless abyss of infamy, when 
we remember that they are nothing else than the 
successors of the priests of Bacchus and Jupiter. 
For not only have they inherited their powers, but 
they have even kept their very robes and mantles 
on their shoulders, and their caps on their heads. 
Like the priests of Bacchus, the priests of the Pope 
are bound never to marry, by the impious and god- 
less laws of celibacy. For every one knows that 
the priests of Bacchus were, as the priests of Koine, 
celibates. But, like the priests of the Pope, the 
priests of Bacchus, to console themselves for the 
restraints of celibacy, had invented auricular con- 
fession. Through the secret confidences of the 
confessional, the priests of the old idols, as well as 
those of the newly-invented wafer gods, knew who, 
were strong and weak among their fair penitents* 
and under the veil " of the sacred mysteries," dur- 
ing the night celebration of their diabolical mys* 
teries, they knew to whom they should address 



JHE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 289 

themselves, and make their vows of celibacy an 
easy yoke. 

Let those who want more information on that 
subject read the poems of Juvenal, Propertius, and 
Tibellus. Let t'he'm peruse all the historians of old 
Rome, and they will see the perfect resemblance 
which exists between the priests of the Pope and 
those of Bacchus, in reference to the vows of cel- 
ibacy, the secrets of auricular confession, celebra- 
tion of the so-called " sacred mysteries," and the 
unmentionable moral corruption of the two systems 
of religion. In fact, when one reads the poems of 
Juvenal, he thinks he has before him the books of 
Dens, Liguori, Lebreyne, Kenrick. 

Let us hope and pray that the day may soon* 
come when God will look in His mercy upon this 
perishing world * and then, the priests of the wafer- 
gods, with their mock celibacy, their soul-destroy- 
ing auricular confession and their idols will be swept 
away. 

In that day Babylon — the great Babylon will fall, 
and heaven and earth shall rejoice. 

For the nations will no more go and quench their 
thirst at the impure cisterns dug for them by the 
man of sin. But they will go and wash their robes in 
the blood of the Lamb ; and the Lamb will make them 
pure by His blood, and free by His word. Amen. 



CHAPTEK XII. 

A CHAPTER FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF LEGISLATORS, 
HUSBANDS, AND FATHERS. SOME OF THE MAT- 
TERS ON WHICH THE PRIEST OF ROME MUST QUES- 
TION HIS PENITENTS 



DENS wants the confessors to interrogate on the 
following matters : — 
1 " Peccant uxores, quae susceptum viri semen 
ejiciunt, vel ejicere conantur.*' (Bens, torn, vii., 
p. 147.) 

2. " Peccant conjuges mortaliter, si, copula 
incept^, cohibeant seminationem. " 

3. " Si vir jam seminaverit, dubium fit an fem- 
ina lethaliter peccat, si se retrahat a seminando ; 
aut peccat lethaliter vir non expectando semina- 
tionem uxoris." (P. 153.) 

4. "Peccant conjuges inter se circa actum con- 
jugriom. Debet servari modus, sive situs ; imo ut 
non servetur debitum vas, sed copula habeatur in 
vase prsepostero, aliquoque non naturali. Si fiat 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 291 

accedendo a postero, a latere, stando, sedendo, vel 
si vir sit succumbus." (P. 166. ) 

5. " Impotentia est incapacitas perficiendi, cop- 
nlum carnalem perfectam cum seminatione viri in 
vase debito seu, de se, aptam generationi. Yel, ut 
si mulier sit nimis areta respectu unius viri, non 
respectu alterins." (Yol. vii., p. 273.) 

6. ' ' Notatur quod pollutio in mulieribus possit 
perfici, ita ut semen earum nou effluat extra mem- 
brum genitale. 

u Indicium istius allegat Billuart, si scilicet 
mulier sensiat seminis resolutionem cum magno 
voluptatis sensu, qua completa, passio satiatur." 
(Yol. iv., p. 168.) 

7. " Uxor se accusans, in confessione, quod 
negaverit debitum, interrogetur an ex pleno rigore 
juris sui id petiverit." (Yol. vii., p. 168.) 

8. "Confessor pcenitentem, qui confitetur se 
pecasse cum sacerdote, vel sollicitatam ab eo ad 
turpia, potest interrogare utrum ille sacerdos sit 
ejus confessarius, an in confessione sollitavefit. "' 
(Yol. vi., p. 294.) 

There are a great many other unmentionable 
things on which Dens, in his fourth, fifth and sev- 
enth volumes, requires the confessor to ask his 
penitent, which I omit. 

Now let us come to Liguori. That so-called 



292 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

Saint, Liguori, is not less diabolically impure than 
Dens, in his questions to the women. But I will 
cite only two of the things on which the spiritual 
physician of the Pope must not fail to examine his 
spiritual patient : — 

1. "Quserat an sit semper mortale, sivirim- 
mitat pudenda in os uxoris ? 

" Verius affirmo quia, in hoc actu ob calorem 
oris, adest proximum periculum pollutionis, et vid- 
etur nova species luxurise contra naturam, dicta 
irruminatio. " 

2. " Eodem modo, Sanchez damnat virum de 
mortali, qui, in actu copulse, immiteret dignitum in 
vas praeposterum nxoris ; quia, ut ait, in hoc actu 
adest affectus ad Sodomiam." (Liguori, torn, vi., 
p. 935.) 

The celebrated Burchard, Bishop of Worms, has 
made a book of the questions which had to be put 
by the confessors to their penitents of both sexes. 
During several centuries it was the standard book 
of the priests of Kome. Though that work to-day 
is very scarce, Dens, Liguori, Debreyne, &c, &c, 
have ransacked its polluting pages, and given them 
to study to the modern confessors, in order to ques- 
tion their penitents. I will select only a few ques- 
tions of the Roman Catholic Bishop to the young 
men : — 



THE PKIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL 293 

1. " Fecisti solus tecum fornication em ut quidam 
facere solent ; ita dico ut ipse tuum membrum 
virile in manum tuam acciperes, et sic duceres 
praeputium tuum, et manu propria commoveres, ut 
sic, per illam delectationem semen projiceres ?" 

2. " Fornicationem fecisti cum masculo intra 
coxes ; ita dicto ut tuum virile membrum intra coxas 
alterius mitteres, et sic agitando semen funderes V 

3. "Fecisti fornicationem, ut quidem facere 
solent, ut tuum virile membrum in lignum perfora- 
tum, aut in aliquod hujus modi mitteres, et, sic, per 
illam commotionem et delectationem semen proji- 
«ceres ? ' ' 

4. " Fecisti fornicationem contra naturam, id 
<est, cum masculis vel animalibus coire, id est cum 
•equo, cum vacca, vel asina, vel aliquo animali ? ' ' 
{Vol. L, p. 136.) 

Among the questions we find in the compend- 
ium of the Right "Rev. Burchard, Bishop of Worms, 
which must be put to women, are the following (p. 
115):— 

1. " Fecisti quod qusedem mulieres solent, quod- 
4am molimen, aut machinamentum in modum viri- 
lis membri ad mensbram tuae voluptatis, et illud 
lodo verendorum tuorum aut alterius cum aliquibus 
ligaturiSjUtfornacationem facereres cum aliis mulieri- 
3)us, vel alia eodem instrumento, sive alio tecum ? " 



294 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

2. " Fecisti quod quaedem mulieres facere sole^l 
ut jam supra dicto molimine, vel alio aliquo niacin- 
namento, tu ipsa in te solam faceres fornica- 
tionem? " 

3. " Fecisti quod quaedam mulieres facere solent, 
quando libidinem se vexantem exinguere volunt, 
quae se conjungunt quasi coire debeant ut possint, 
et conjungunt invicem puerperia sua, et sic, fri- 
cando pruritum illarum extinguere desiderant? " 

4. ' ' Fecisti quod quaedam mulieres facere solent, 
ut succumberes aliquo jumento et illiud jumentuin 
ad coitum quolicumque posses ingenio, ut sic coiret 
tecum ? " 

The celebrated Debr^yne has written a whole 
book, composed of the most incredible details of 
impurities, to instruct the young confessors in the 
art of questioning their penitents. The name of 
the book is " Moechialogy, " or " Treaty on all the 
sins against the sixth (seventh) and the ninth com- 
mandments, as well as on all the questions of the 
married life which refer to them." 

That work is much approved and studied in the 
Church of Rome. I do not know that the world 
has ever seen anything comparable to the filthy and 
infamous details of that book. I will cite only two 
of the questions which Debreyne wants the con- 
fessor to put to his penitent : — 



THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 295 

Of the young men (page 95) the confessor will 
ask : — 

" Ad cognoscendum an usque ad pollutionem se 
tetigerent, quando tempore et quo fine se tetigerint ; 
An tunc quosdam motus in corpore experti fuerint, 
et per quantum temporis spatium ; an cessantibus 
taetibus, nihil insolitum et turpe accideret ; an non 
longe majorem in compore voluptatem perceperint 
in fine tactuum quam in eorum principio ; an turn 
in fine quando magnam delectationem carnalem 
sensuerunt, omnes motus corporis cessaverint; an 
non madefacti fuerint? " &c, &c. 

Of the girl the confessor will ask: — 

"Quae sese tetegisse fatentur, an non aliquem 
puritum extinguere entaverint, et utrum pruritus 
ille cessaverit cam magnum senserint voluptatem ; 
an tunc, ipsimet tactus cessaverint ?" &c, &c. 

The Right Rev. Kenrick, late Bishop of Boston, 
United States, in his book for the teaching of con- 
fessors on what matters they must question their 
penitents, has the following, which I select among 
thousands as impure and damnable to the soul and 
body: — 

" Uxor quae, in usu matrimonii, se vertit, ut non 
yecipiat semen, vel statim post illud acceptum sur- 
git ut expellatur, lethalitur peccat ; sed opus non 
est ut diu resupina jaceat, quum matrix, brevi, 



296 THE PRIEST, WOMAN AND CONFESSIONAL. 

semen attraliat, et mox, arctissime claudatur. '* 
(Yol. Hi.', p. 317.) 

" Pullae patienti licet se vertere, et conari ut non 
recipiat semen, quod injuria ei immittitur ; sed, 
exceptum, non licet expellere, quia jam possess- 
ionem paciflcam liabet, et liaud absque injuria 
naturae ejiceretur." (Tom. iii., p. 317.) 

" Conjuges senes plerumque coeunt absque culpa,, 
licet contingat semen extra vas effundi; id enim 
per accidens fit ex imfirmitate naturae. Quod si 
vdres adeo sint fractae ut nullo sit seminandi intra 
vas sp^s, jam nequeunt jure conjugii uti." (Tom. 
iii., p. 317.) 





BX 

2267 

.C5 

1887 



Chiniquy, Charles Paschal 
Telesphore, 1809-1899. 
The priest, the woman and the 
confessional 



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